Final minute Scarratt penalty gives England thrilling 25-23 victory over France

Scarratt came off the bench to make the difference for England
Scarratt came off the bench to make the difference for England (PA)
14:27pm, Sat 21 Nov 2020
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England produced a stunning late fightback against France as Emily Scarratt kicked the winning penalty in the final minute of the game to hand the Red Roses victory.

France dominated the first half and went into the break with a 15-5 lead thanks to a stunning solo try from Cyrielle Banet and another from Emeline Gros.

Banet then went into the sin-bin just three minutes into the second half for kicking out while trying to wriggle free from a ruck, an incident which threatened to turn the tide of the match.

And it looked as if Simon Middleton’s side were to set to capitalise on the extra player advantage when Lark Davies went over to reduce the score to 15-10.

But the French held firm and a penalty from Caroline Drouin saw Banet return to the field with France eight points in front.

The game looked to be over 15 minutes from time when some quick, neat movement of the ball switched the play out to the right before Banet scored her second try of the game.

With a 13-point deficit to make up, Poppy Cleall gave England hope in the 71st minute as she bundled the ball over, but Zoe Harrison’s failed conversion attempt felt as if it could prove crucial.

However, just two minutes later Ellie Kildunne burst through numerous French tackles on the right-hand side to score and reduce the gap to just a single point.

Kildunne scored with seven minutes to go to give England hope

(PA)

It looked as though the visitors were going to hold on as the clock ticked over to 80 minutes, but when Agathe Sochat failed to roll away from a ruck she was penalised by referee Hollie Davidson and gave substitute Scarratt the chance to win the game.

The Loughborough Lightning star made no mistake, clipping the ball between the posts to complete an unlikely late comeback.

The victory adds to England’s impressive 33-10 win in France last weekend as they complete a perfect 2-0 Test series win.

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