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By Phil Harlow

606: DEBATE

80 mins: FULL-TIME France 22-9 England
La Marseillaise rings out around the stadium, and that's that. England lose on the road yet again, and there are still plenty of questions about their World Cup defence.

England will go into the tournament on the back of two defeats, not what they wanted.

78 mins: This match is meandering towards its conclusion, and it looks very much like 15 defeats from England's last 16 Tests away from Twickenham. Unfortunately for them, the World Cup is not being held in south west London.

75 mins: Replacement David Skrela goes down the blindside and skins Lee Mears to set up a good attack. France swing the ball right but Cedric Heymans drops a pass that was right in the breadbasket.

72 mins: England could have another injury problem on their hands with Martin Corry limping off with a knee injury. He looks in real discomfort and a look at the replay shows why with the England flanker getting his knee bent underneath him in the tackle.

Andy Farrell has to make up the numbers in the back row with Olly Barkley coming on to take his place at 12.

71 mins: "Not sure of the real benefit of these games before the World Cup. Apart from injury to the best players and ensuring they are not there to make a difference."
Webby via text

70 mins: PEN 22-9 England
Steve Borthwick is pinged for trying to ruck out a player on the wrong side. He looks hugely disappointed, but with the law as it is, the referee had little choice.

From 35m and straight in front, Frederic Michalak makes no mistake with the penalty.

66 mins: Seemingly emboldened by the reprieve of Harinordoquy's selfishness, England, from behind their tryline, swing the ball out to Jason Robinson who chances his arm down the wing before being scragged.

64 mins: If France don't win this, Imanol Harinordoquy should hang his head in shame. After a series of phases, Les Bleus work an overlap on the left but the number eight inexplicably opts to go for glory rather than pass to the unmarked Clement Poitrenaud outside him.

61 mins: It's not turning out to be a great night for Simon Shaw as he concedes a penalty for holding on on the floor.

Luckily for Shaw, Jean-Baptiste Elisalde misses another kick. He is furious with himself, and rightly so.

England take off Tom Rees and Josh Lewsey with Joe Worsley and Paul Sackey coming on.

59 mins: England create space out wide, but a knock-on stops all the momentum. France, in contrast, look slick as you like in midfield.

It probably won't have escaped the attention of England coach Brian Ashton that England have now gone a match and three quarters - some 140 minutes - without scoring a try.

55 mins: PEN France 19-9 England
England keep themselves in the match with another Jonny Wilkinson kick after France come in at the side.

53 mins: There are some brutal hits going on in Marseille with Dan Hipkiss and Josh Lewsey both getting some treatment from an excellent French defence.

50 mins: Yet another flare-up as Martin Corry mischievously pushes Raphael Ibanez into the boards with the ball well away. The France captain does not take kindly to it, to put it mildly.

For England, Lawrence Dallaglio and Lee Mears are on for Nick Easter and Mark Regan.

48 mins: TRY France 19-6 England
It was only a temporary reprieve for England as France go well clear through a classy try from Yannick Jauzion.

Frederic Michalak runs at the line and gives a pass around the back to Jauzion who cuts a lovely angle off his fly-half to run through Andy Farrell and Shaun Perry's tackles.

Jean-Baptiste Elisalde kicks the conversion and Simon Shaw makes his return to the field with a warning to watch his step.

45 mins: A huge sigh of relief for England as Yannick Nyanga drops the ball over the line after a two-man tackle from Tom Rees and Jonny Wilkinson.

But, truth be told, Nyanga should never have been over the tryline after both Josh Lewsey and Mark Cueto both missed him. Worrying times for England.

43 mins: Matt Stevens does not show a lot of brain power as he comes in at the side right under the nose of the referee to give away a penalty.

Fortunately for Stevens, Jean-Baptiste Elisalde - who seems to have broken his nose in the last phase - misses the kick.

Meanwhile, Martin Corry, who is captain in the absence of Phil Vickery, is having an ongoing dialogue with referee Alain Rolland after England were penalised for a mistake at the line-out when they did not have someone standing as a receiver.

41 mins: PEN France 12-6 England
The perfect start for England as they win a penalty within 30 seconds of kick-off after France get isolated in possession.

Mark Regan leaps in the air again like he has won the lottery and, like an over-excited eight-year-old, gets told to calm down by the referee.

Jonny Wilkinson slots the kick with ease.

2100: Frederic Michalak kicks off for France, who have a one-man advantage for the next 10 minutes.

2059: England run out for the second half to a predictable chorus of boos with Matt Stevens out on the field in place of Phil Vickery.


40 mins+1: PEN France 12-3 England
England, down to 14 men and with their captain carried off on a stretcher, are right up against it now as another Jean-Baptiste Elisalde kick goes over to extend the gap to nine points as the half-time whistle goes.

Phil Vickery looked to be conscious and was not holding any particular part of his body, so it is not completely clear what the problem is at the moment.

40 mins: YELLOW CARD
With the clock running down, Simon Shaw ensures England's task is all the more difficult as he gets 10 minutes in the sin-bin for a high tackle on Damien Traille in a nothing situation.

To add injury to insult (if I can invert the old cliché), in the same tackle, England captain Phil Vickery gets his head in the wrong place and seems to be out cold on the floor after getting the combined force of Shaw and Traille through his body. He is eventually carried off on a stretcher and England can only hope it is nothing too serious.

38 mins: PEN France 9-3 England
England pay the price for Mark Cueto's mistake as Jean-Baptiste Elisalde kicks France further ahead after a penalty at the scrum.

35 mins: A schoolboy error from Mark Cueto. Actually that is an insult to schoolboys everywhere. Frederic Michalak's fairly aimless kick upfield gives him every chance to counter-attack, but he knocks on horribly.

To make things worse, he kicks the ball away in frustration straight into team-mate Dan Hipkiss and the ball bounces around dangerously for France to eventually win a scrum in dangerous territory. Cueto's team-mates will not be thanking him for that.

31 mins: PEN France 6-3 England
Yet another penalty goes against England for hands in the ruck, and this time they are punished as Jean-Baptiste Elisalde kicks France ahead.

29 mins: England concede another silly penalty for a blatant bit of blocking by Phil Vickery and Mark Regan.

Regan's protestations of innocence suggest a promising career in acting may be his for the taking when he hangs up his boots.

26 mins: A good straightening line from Andy Farrell is followed by a nice offload to Dan Hipkiss. He takes the ball into contact and wins a penalty as Christophe Dominici sticks his hands into the ruck.

Jonny Wilkinson goes through his familiar routine but the ball goes just to the left of the posts. Not a good start for either goalkicker.

23 mins: England concede a penalty for Jason Robinson being in front of the kicker although it looks a debatable call.

Jean-Baptiste Elissalde takes aim but his effort - from more or less straight in front - ends up wide, despite the crowd behind the posts trying to hoodwink the officials by cheering as if it had gone over.

20 mins: It's not a major surprise when another fight breaks out on the far side of the pitch with the ball a distant memory. Andy Farrell is involved again, but it's Martin Corry and Fabien Pelous at the centre of things.

They get a lengthy talking to from bilingual referee Alain Rolland, with both players claiming total innocence. The ref has got his hands full here, make no mistake.

17 mins: England launch an encouraging attack, with Shaun Perry making a break down the blindside before releasing Jason Robinson.

The move comes to an end when Tom Rees is outmuscled in contact.

14 mins: PEN France 3-3 England
England's lead does not last long as a silly penalty is conceded by Shaun Perry, who tackles his opposite number without the ball.

Jean-Baptiste Elissalde takes no notice, and picks himself up to slot the simple kick.

11 mins: PEN France 0-3 England
A huge up-and-under from Jonny Wilkinson is well taken by Clement Poitrenaud, and France recycle the ball out to the left.

Christophe Dominici is caught out by a big hit from Josh Lewsey, and he promptly concedes the penalty for holding onto possession on the floor. Mark Regan jumps up and down and has a quiet little word with his opposite number Raphael Ibanez.

Jonny Wilkinson steps up and slots the kick, despite the cat-calls from the crowd.

9 mins: Frederic Michalak fires a drop-goal attempt from 40m out, but his effort skews narrowly wide.

7 mins: England win a penalty after France are adjudged to have collapsed the scrum, but a rare mistake with the boot from Jonny Wilkinson.

He gets greedy going for distance and overcooks the kick, putting it out for touch in-goal.

4 mins: England send the ball wide, with Andy Farrell giving Mark Cueto a nice ball to run on to, but soon after Josh Lewsey is bundled into touch by four tacklers.

The first flashpoint of the match soon follows with Farrell absolutely furious with Damien Traille for an as yet unseen incident. He is not happy, to put it mildly.

2 mins: France secure possession at the line-out and England concede a free-kick anyway for having too many players in the set piece.

The next time England get possession, Jonny Wilkinson puts a tactical kick in behind the French winger on the other side. Is this the start of a tactical pattern for England?

1 min: A clever grubber kick from Andy Farrell gets England deep into the French territory to put real pressure on Raphael Ibanez's first line-out put-in.

1801: Jonny Wilkinson kicks off for England and there is a knock-on from France to give the visitors an early boost.

1959: The national anthems are sung with real gusto, although "God Save The Queen" seems to be reimagined as a funeral march.

1954: The French team emerge from their dressing room and stride down the tunnel where they wait for their English opponents.

Phil Vickery pops his head around the door and leads his team out. England are decked out in their away strip of red shorts and predominantly red shirts. The white material on the left arm is all that separates this kit from Wales' to my eyes.

1951: The cheers go up as the French team is announced over the loudspeakers, with a special welcome reserved for Fabien Pelous, who is winning his 112th cap - a new French record.

1945: The announcer is working the French crowd up into a frenzy ahead of kick-off. It goes without saying that England will not be enjoying too much support among the 60,000 people inside the stadium.

1939: Both sets of players are running through their last-minute preparations on a sultry evening in south France.

Andy Farrell, who has still to convince some of his critics of his abilities as a top-class union centre, looks calm as he runs through a handling drill.

England are warming up in grey T-shirts and the sweat they are working up is obvious. Despite the late kick-off this is a warm old evening in Marseille.

England are aiming to end their away-day blues in the forbidding setting of Marseille's Stade Velodrome in their final warm-up Test before the World Cup.

The world champions have only won once in their last 15 away Tests and only three times on the road - twice in Italy, once in Scotland - since their 2003 triumph.

Only Argentina have beaten the French in Marseille, where England, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia have all failed to win.

England have named something approaching their strongest team, although prop Andrew Sheridan is sidelined with an infected insect bite.

Perry Freshwater stands in at loose-head prop, while lock Steve Borthwick and number eight Nick Easter will also be looking for big games to strengthen their World Cup claims.

Centres Andy Farrell and Dan Hipkiss also have a further opportunity, while head coach Brian Ashton will hope Mark Cueto justifies the faith placed in him at full-back.

France, who won 21-15 at Twickenham a week ago, have made eight changes with Jean-Baptiste Elissalde and Frederic Michalak starting at half-back.



France: Poitrenaud; Heymans, Traille, Jauzion, Dominici; Michalak, Elissalde; Milloud, Ibanez (capt), Poux, Pelous, Thion, Nyanga, Dusautoir, Harinordoquy.
Replacements: Bruno, Mas, Nallet, Bonnaire, Mignoni, Skrela, Rougerie.

England: Cueto; Lewsey, Hipkiss, Farrell, Robinson; Wilkinson, Perry; Freshwater, Regan, Vickery (capt), Shaw, Borthwick, Corry, Rees, Easter.
Replacements: Mears, Stevens, Worsley, Dallaglio, Gomarsall, Barkley, Sackey.



SEE ALSO
France v England photos
18 Aug 07 |  Rugby Union
France v England (Sat)
17 Aug 07 |  English
France change eight for England
17 Aug 07 |  Rugby Union
Chuter to miss key England match
17 Aug 07 |  English
Ashton content with 'Dad's Army'
14 Aug 07 |  English
Tindall & Hodgson miss World Cup
13 Aug 07 |  English
England 15-21 France
11 Aug 07 |  Rugby Union


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