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Page last updated at 18:08 GMT, Saturday, 12 June 2010 19:08 UK

England 60-6 France

England (34) 60
Tries: Widdop, Briscoe, S Tomkins 4, Shenton 2, Ellis 2, Bridge Goals: Sinfield 6, Widdop 2

France (6) 6
Try: Bentley Goals: Mounis

Sam Tomkins touches down for one of his tries

By Elizabeth Hudson

Sam Tomkins scored four first-half tries as England ran out comfortable winners against France in coach Steve McNamara's first game in charge.

It was a second international hat-trick for Tomkins, and equalled the England try-scoring record for a single match.

The Wigan half-back and debutant Gareth Widdop, who scored England's opener, were key figures early on at Leigh.

Gareth Ellis and Michael Shenton each crossed twice, while Tom Briscoe and Chris Bridge also grabbed tries.

Australia-based Widdop, who was born in Halifax but emigrated with his family five years ago, marked his England debut with a try after only two minutes.

France dropped the ball and England broke down field and a neat inside pass from Chris Bridge found the Melbourne Storm man who touched down.

Widdop, who is understudy to Australian international Billy Slater at Melbourne, was one of three overseas-based players in the England squad and he was also involved in their next two tries.

On 14 minutes, Frenchman Nicolas Piquemal failed to cope with a high ball and from an England scrum 20 metres out, the ball was played across the line via Widdop to Hull FC's Briscoe who went over.

Kevin Sinfield, who had also converted Widdop's earlier try, made it two out of two.

Two minutes later, Widdop's neat footwork opened the gap and with Bridge and Sam Tomkins in support, the Wigan player crossed.


France hit back, thanks to a penalty conceded by England captain Jamie Peacock and Remy Casty offloaded for Andrew Bentley to score a try converted by Gregory Mounis.

Errors started to creep into England's game as their intensity level dropped, but the home side got back into gear, thanks to the trickery of Sam Tomkins and the arrival of his older brother Joel onto the field.

Joel passed to Sam who ducked over for his second of the evening on 31 minutes, before the pair combined again for Sam's hat-trick four minutes later - his second international hat-trick after he scored one against Wales in October 2009.

Sam Tomkins finished the half on a high when both he and Widdop chipped the ball over the French defence and the Wigan half-back touched down for his fourth with Widdop adding his second conversion with Sinfield off the pitch.

England were less than fluid at the start of the second half as the French showed more resolve.

But after 55 minutes, Adrian Morley made a break to release Sam Tomkins but as the defenders loomed, he passed the ball out wide to Shenton and the Castleford centre crossed for his first try on his eighth appearance for England.

Sam Tomkins touches down for one of his tries
It was a second international hat-trick in eight games for Tomkins

On 68 minutes, Bridge made a superb break but he was tripped by Constant Villegas which earned the Frenchman 10 minute spell in the sin bin.

It proved crucial as England made the extra-man advantage count in the closing stages.

From the resulting penalty, second-rower Ellis, who had also travelled over from Australia for the game, used his strength to shrug off the French defence and get to the line.

Sinfield, back on kicking duties, kicked his fourth goal of the night and England looked in control.

With the extra-man advantage, England piled down the right and former Irish international Bridge had too much speed for the French defence.

Ellis then powered through for his second try - converted by Sinfield - while Shenton had the final say with England's 11th try of the game.

Despite the easy win, McNamara has been given plenty to think about ahead of this autumn's Four Nations series in Australia and New Zealand where England will face a sterner test.

"We can argue all day if it's right or wrong or intense enough, but the week and the game itself has served a whole lot of purposes for us," he said.

"We've spent some time together, we've shown some very good combinations, scored some super tries and there were some poor things in there as well, so it was a nice mix for us.

We had a go but if you're realistic about things, we knew what was going to happen in the end

France coach Bobbie Goulding

"I can understand the arguments but I'm more concerned with what we've got, which is what we had today. We attacked that as best we could," he said.

"We have ideas as to how we can enhance that and hopefully help France in any way that we can. If we can keep this game and add games that would be my ideal. But time will tell."

France coach Goulding struggled to hide his disappointment after the mauling and admitted that he had feared his side would end up on the end of a heavy defeat.

Goulding was missing seven regulars from the Catalans Dragons through injury including Thomas Bosc and Clint Greenshields

But he is hopeful that when they are fit again, it will help his side in October's European Cup.

"We had a go but if you're realistic about things, we knew what was going to happen in the end," he said.

"It was men against boys and I said that in Paris last year. It was 6-0 for 25 minutes in the second-half so there were some positives.

"We came so far in the Four Nations and all I wanted to do was improve and come a little bit closer, but unfortunately, with all the injuries and that, it wasn't to be.

"We haven't got a large pool of players to pick from but I thought the pack did okay and had a go at it.

England: Widdop (Melbourne Storm), Briscoe (Hull FC), Bridge (Warrington), Shenton (Castleford), Hall (Leeds), Brown (Huddersfield), S Tomkins (Wigan), Graham (St Helens), Sinfield (Leeds), Peacock (capt, Leeds), Ellis (West Tigers), Burgess (South Sydney), O'Loughlin (Wigan). Replacements: Roby (St Helens), Morley (Warrington), Westwood (Warrington), J Tomkins (Wigan).

France: Villegas, Piquemal, Gossard, Raguin, Vaccari, Gigot, Munoz, Ferriol, Mounis, Casty, Elima, Fakir, Bentley. Replacements: Barthau, Griffi, Simon, Touxagas.

Referee: Leon Williamson (New Zealand)

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see also
Widdop handed first England start
11 Jun 10 |  Rugby League
France hit by withdrawal of Bosc
07 Jun 10 |  Rugby League
Lowes joins England coaching team
04 Jun 10 |  Rugby League
Widdop called into England squad
01 Jun 10 |  Rugby League
Burgess freed for England match
19 May 10 |  Rugby League
Hickmans joins new England set-up
24 May 10 |  Rugby League
McNamara lands England coach post
21 Apr 10 |  Rugby League

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