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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 August, 2003, 20:54 GMT 21:54 UK
France stop England
England's Ollie Smith tackles Frances Jauzion

France 17-16 England

France ended England's 14-match winning streak with a hard-fought victory in Marseille.

It was England's first loss since their 20-15 defeat by France in the Six Nations in Paris last year.

The boot of Frederic Michalak, and England's indiscipline, proved the difference between the teams - he kicked three penalties and a drop-goal to punish England's handling errors.

Nicolas Brusque scored France's only try, while Mike Tindall went over for the visitors.

Although France fielded a full-strength side, England coach Clive Woodward opted to use the game to experiment with his line-up.

France (14) 17
Tries: Brusque. Pens: Michalak 3. Drop Goals: Michalak.
England (13) 16
Tries: Tindall. Cons: Grayson. Pens: Grayson 3.

And that ensured the match, which was always likely to be more competitive than its friendly billing, was fierce as players played for World Cup places.

In the opening exchanges, scuffles broke out as each set of forwards tried to dominate.

When things settled down, England were the first to go over, when Tindall took advantage of a well-worked line-out and a clever feint from Paul Grayson.

Tindall punched through a gap in the French defence and powered over the line to put England ahead for the first time in the match.

They had trailed to a Michalak penalty before Grayson evened things up.

It's an extraordinary result to beat a team like England
Nicolas Brusque

But French flair proved the undoing of England's rear guard as the hosts produced a brilliant flowing move, culminating in a Brusque score in the corner.

Until then, Brusque had been poor with the boot and was struggling to make an impact elsewhere too.

But his collection of Olivier Magne's excellent inside pass, which paved the way for his try, proved a tonic for both himself and his team, who had faded after a strong start.

England thought they had recaptured the lead after Alex Sanderson charged down a kick immediately after the re-start and went over the French try line.

However, his good work was ruined as replays showed he failed to apply downward pressure on the ball and the score was ruled out.

England had regained the lead and were leading by a point, thanks to a Grayson penalty, as half-time approached.

But the visitors conceded an injury-time penalty which gave Michalak the chance to give France the lead at the interval.

England went ahead once more through a Grayson penalty after 15 minutes of the second half, but it was to be a lead they could not hold.

And when Lewis Moody conceded another penalty, Michalak ended England's dream of beating New Zealand and South Africa's record of 17 consecutive wins.

France: N Brusque; A Rougerie, Y Jauzion, D Traille, C Dominici; F Michalak, F Galthie (capt); J-J Crenca, Y Bru, S Marconnet, F Pelous, J Thion, S Betsen, O Magne, I Harinordoquy.
Replacements: R Ibanez, O Milloud, D Auradou, S Chabal, P Tabacco, X Garbajosa, B Liebenberg.

England: I Balshaw; J Lewsey, O Smith, M Tindall, B Cohen; P Grayson, A Healey; G Rowntree, D West (capt), J White, S Borthwick, D Grewcock, M Corry , L Moody, A Sanderson.
Replacements: S Thompson, J Leonard, S Shaw, A Hazell, A Gomarsall, D Walder, J Noon.

Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa).

England coach Clive Woodward
"We did not deserve to win the game"


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