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Topic ClosedRoyle's try secures draw against French Amateurs

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Richard Lowther View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Royle's try secures draw against French Amateurs
    Posted: 14 Sep 2007 at 10:39

September 13, 2007

 France Amateurs 21 England Counties XV 21

Fylde wingman Nick Royle has scored in all three England Counties XV games during the FIRA/AER Rugby Festival in South West France, but the try in the sixth minute of injury time that brought the Counties a draw against France Amateurs in St Paul Les Dax was easily the best and most important of the trio.

Trailing by seven points and struggling to break free from the French grip on the game, England had reached panic stations, two simple opportunities going begging as the game moved into injury time.

But a nice piece of handling skill by replacement Jack Smales finally give Royle the sniff of an opening and he delivered a spectacular finish to race diagonally 45 yards through the heart of the French defence for a try that fly-half Tristan Roberts converted.

Having suffered a humiliating defeat earlier in the season, the French were bitterly disappointed to have victory snatched from them at the death, but closer examination will reveal that their place kicking let them down more seriously than their defence.

It was evident from the outset that the Counties expectations of the toughest game of their programme were fully justified, with France fielding a much more organised and powerful side than the one beaten 41-10 at Blackheath earlier in the year.

The French were quite content to take the Counties on up front and were rewarded after three minutes when England were penalised at a ruck and fly-half Phillippe Lafue kicked the first of his two penalties in the first-half.

The second came 27 minutes when lock Tom Bason collected a yellow card for killing the ball at a ruck under the Counties posts, fly-half Tristan Roberts matching him with a brace of penalties to keep the sides level after 32 minutes.

An ankle injury resulted in full-back Frankie Neale being stretchered off and replaced by Jack Smales, and England ’s problems were then compounded when flanker Stanislav Durand scored at the posts after 42 minutes after a strong forward drive, Lafue converting.

There was still time, however, for England to win a footing in the French 22 and a smart tap penalty brought a try for No 8 Jim Jenner, who was lurking undetected on the flank, to leave France leading 13-11 at the break.

Playing with the slope, France continued to have the better of the game territorially and they extended their lead on 50 minutes when flanker Stanislav Durand scored on the left.

Roberts then cut the deficit again with a penalty before a drop goal by Phillippe Labrouche gave France a seven point cushion.

The sin-binning of wingman Tom Jarvis and French No 8 Bruno Rolland with 10 minutes remaining  contributed to a more frantic finale, but having missed two simple scoring chances after kicking through, Royle slipped into top gear for the first time to supply the heartbreaking moment for the French and leave the Counties as elated as they were relieved. 

England Counties XV: F Neale (Blackheath & Kent); T Jarvis (Stourbridge & Gloucester), C Malherbe (Wharfedale & Yorkshire), K Dench (Otley & Yorkshire), N Royle (Fylde & Lancashire);  T Roberts (Cinderford & Kent), C Aikman (Halifax & Lancashire); D Jacques (Redruth & Cornwall), G Cooper (Redruth & Cornwall), J Tideswell (Stourbridge & North Midlands ), T Bason (Blackheath & Kent), R Snowball (Otley & Yorkshire), M Payne (Henley & Oxfordshire), J Kellard (Blackheath & Kent), J Jenner (Stourbridge & Gloucestershire) capt.

Replacements used: P Joyce (Redruth & Cornwall), C Rowland (Stourbridge & Somerset), D Cooper (Durham University & Durham), D Archer  (Henley & Hertfordshire), J Doherty (Wharfedale & Yorkshire), P Mooney (Otley & Northumberland), J Smales (Tynedale & Northumberland).

France Amateurs: R Ourak; J Delhaye, D Laborde, P Labroche, D Marque; P Lafue, L Frison; V Claireaux, F Marque, V Violle, L Robert, G Trotignon, E Serna, S Durand, B Rolland.

Referee: G De Santis ( Italy )


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