England vs France rugby LIVE: Result and reaction as England win Women’s Six Nations grand slam decider

·24-min read
 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

An historic occasion awaits as England host France in a Women’s Six Nations grand slam decider at Twickenham.

The record attendance for a women’s rugby fixture is set to be smashed as the Red Roses take to Twickenham for the first time in a standalone fixture, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. England and France have once again swept the opposition aside ahead of the final weekend of this year’s Six Nations and the winner will claim the title, as well as the Grand Slam.

England are hoping to win the Six Nations for a fifth year in a row while France are out for revenge after their semi-final defeat to the Red Roses at the World Cup last autumn. While England have had the edge in this rivalry in recent years, France have always pushed them close and will be determined to spoil the Twickenham party with over 50,000 tickets sold for the Six Nations decider.

Relive England’s historic win over France in the Women’s Six Nations, below

England vs France LIVE: Updates from Women’s Six Nations decider

  • England beat France 38-33 at Twickenham in Women’s Six Nations grand slam decider

  • A world record crowd for women’s rugby of more than 58,000 people watch the Twickenham triumph

  • FULL-TIME! England 38-33 France

  • 80’ - TRY! Banet crosses for second of France’s late consolation tries (ENG 38-33 FRA)

  • 66’ - TRY! Escudero touches down from the back of a drive (ENG 38-21 FRA)

  • 60’ - TRY! Davies dots down from an unstoppable drive (ENG 38-14 FRA)

  • 55’ - TRY! Vernier snipes over from the base of a ruck after great dummy (ENG 33-14 FRA)

  • 49’ - TRY! France finally score as Boulard barrels over out wide (ENG 33-7 FRA)

  • 40’ - TRY! Aldcroft finishes a neat team move for the fifth try (ENG 33-0 FRA)

  • 37’ - PENALTY TRY! Bernadou tackles from an offside position on the line (ENG 26-0 FRA)

  • 32’ - TRY! Dominant England scrum ends with Matthews touching down (ENG 19-0 FRA)Eng

  • 26’ - TRY! Sublime Heard offload allows Packer to power across the line (ENG 12-0 FRA)

  • 17’ - TRY! Dow shows incredible pace to blaze over from England’s first attack (ENG 5-0 FRA)

FT England 38-33 France

15:02 , Mike Jones

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Full-time: England 38-33 France

14:58 , Mike Jones

Lark Davies’ second half try is the only difference between the teams in the end. England put 33 points on the board in the first half before France responded with 33 of their own in the second.

A great game comes to an end with England coming out on top. They win the Six Nations and complete another grand slam!

England 38-33 France (Tremouliere, conv)

14:56 , Mike Jones

Jessy Tremouliere has the last word on the day and pumps over the conversion.

TRY! England 38-31 (Banet, 80’)

14:55 , Mike Jones

80 mins: Right on the buzzer, a France scrum collapses and the referee plays on. They swing the ball out to the right and Cyrielle Banet goes over.

England 38-26 France

14:54 , Mike Jones

78 mins: Tremouliere misses the conversion. Time is against the visitors who continue to force England into a retreat. The Red Roses are really benefitting from their first half dominance.

TRY! England 38-26 France (Gros, 76’)

14:52 , Mike Jones

76 mins: Another one! Where was this France in the first half? Some powerful driving hits from the likes of Menager push England behind their out try line.

Emeline Gros scoops up the ball and thunders over to get Les Bleus within 12.

England 38-21 France

14:45 , Mike Jones

72 mins: The attendance is announced over the stadium speakers. 58,498 fans have turned up to watch this huge game and they’ve been treated to a proper spectacle.

A breakaway for France sees them come through the middle of England before working the ball out to the right wing. Jess Breach is aware of the developing danger and scoops Chambon into touch.

England 38-21 France

14:43 , Mike Jones

69 mins: A driving maul for England wins them a penalty as France fail to move away following the tackle.

The Red Roses elect for a repeat lineout and maul. This one is utilised better from England who get Marlie Packer the ball. She drives over the line but gets held up!

England 38-21 France (Tremouliere, conv)

14:40 , Mike Jones

67 mins: The conversion is safely sent over by Jessy Tremouliere and France are edging ever closer to England’s tally. Will there be enough time to catch up though?

TRY! England 38-19 France (Escudero, 66’)

14:39 , Mike Jones

66 mins: France score again!

A line-out develops into a driving maul over on the right wing which turns England around. It’s not clear who has possession of the ball before Charlotte Escudero drops out of the pack and grounds the ball over the try line.

England 38-14 France

14:34 , Mike Jones

61 mins: Helena Rowland misses the conversion. That try has come at a good time for England. They were starting to slack off a touch and let France back into the match.

TRY! England 38-14 France (Davies, 60’)

14:32 , Mike Jones

60 mins: England’s scrum pushes towards the try line as Lark Davies collects the ball at the back. As they get to within a yard, Davies bursts through the middle and dives over the line.

England 33-14 France

14:31 , Mike Jones

59 mins: England haven’t scored a point in the second half yet. Their lead should be enough for them to see out the game but another quick try from the French will start to get the crowd nervous.

England maintain possession and win a penalty before kicking the ball out to gain field position right outside the France try line.

England 33-14 France (Tremouliere, 56)

14:29 , Mike Jones

Jessy Tremouliere’s conversion means she’s just broken the French record and is now their all time leading points scorer. That’s a nice landmark to hit in her final match.

Is the comeback on for France?

TRY! England 33-12 France (Vernier, 56’)

14:28 , Mike Jones

56 mins: Oh what a dummy and run from Gabrielle Vernier!

A miscued kick across the field form Jessy Tremouliere sees Axelle Berthoumie tackled right on the touchline. Vernier picks up the ball, dummies a pass and steps inside of Lucy Packer to get behind the England line.

It’s a simple run over the line and France have a second try.

England 33-7 France

14:24 , Mike Jones

53 mins: Another try for France would make things interesting here. They work the ball over to the far side but Axelle Berthoumie can’t find a way through.

France switch it back and try to drag England to the right. The visitors are really pressing their advantage here but England are holding firm.

England 33-7 France (Tremouliere, conv)

14:20 , Mike Jones

50 mins: A tricky angle for the conversion is no problem for France’s kicker Jessy Tremouliere who plants it between the uprights to earn a couple more for the visitors.

TRY! England 33-5 France (Boulard, 49’)

14:19 , Mike Jones

49 mins: France get on the board! They move the ball quickly down the line and stretch England. Emilie Boulard collects the pass, cuts inside and lunges for the line.

England 33-0 France

14:17 , Mike Jones

47 mins: France are back up to their starting contingent of 15 players as Rose Bernadou completes her time in the sin bin.

There’s a few mistakes slipping into England’s play. Marlie Packer is judged offside when she grabs Pauline Bourdon’s arm to stop her pass.

England 33-0 France

14:15 , Mike Jones

45 mins: Just as England look to push into some decent field position Holly Aitchison knocks on and gives the ball back to France.

After winning a penalty from England holding up the scrum, Bourdon plays it quickly before passing down the line to Jessy Tremouliere.

A dink kick forward lands in the hands of Abby Dow and she drives it back into the French forward line.

England 33-0 France

14:11 , Mike Jones

42 mins: Pauline Bourdon gets through England’s forward line with a darting run before winning a penalty which France take quickly.

Gabrielle Vernier brings the ball towards the uprights but the Red Roses turnover the ball on the edge of their try line once again.

England’s defence has been incredible today.

Second half: England 33-0 France

14:09 , Mike Jones

Holly Aitchison gets the match back underway. Jessy Tremouliere is back on the field for France but the visitors are still down to 14 players as Rose Bernadou serves the rest of her time in the sin bin.

HT England 33-0 France

14:04 , Mike Jones

Here’s the try from Zoe Aldcroft, scored just on the stroke of half-time.

HT England 33-0 France

14:00 , Mike Jones

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)
 (PA)
(PA)

Half-time: England 33-0 France

13:56 , Mike Jones

That’s a perfect first 40 minutes for England. After weathering an early storm from France, the Red Roses wrestled the momentum and flew up the pitch scoring from their first attack.

From there it was a one-sided show, tries for Abby Dow, Marlie Packer, Zoe Aldcroft and Alex Matthews has given them a serious lead.

England 33-0 France (Rowland, conv)

13:54 , Mike Jones

An easy kick for Helena Rowland adds to England’s lead.

TRY! England 31-0 France (Aldcroft, 40+2’)

13:52 , Mike Jones

40+2 mins: Powerful direct drives from England see them cross the line once again. The Red Roses stretch the play out to the left, quickly move it back inside and a gap opens up for Zoe Aldcroft who flies through and scores.

PENALTY TRY! England 26-0 France

13:47 , Mike Jones

37 mins: The decision is made, Bernadou is given a yellow card, France are down to 13 players and England are awarded a penalty try which also earns them a bonus point.

England 19-0 France

13:45 , Mike Jones

36 mins: Another TMO consultation to see if England should be awarded a penalty try. Lucy Packer lunges for the line as Rose Bernadou tackles her from an offside position.

England 19-0 France

13:41 , Mike Jones

35 mins: Close! Lark Davies gets over the try line but seems to have just been held up by Audrey Forlani. The TMO can’t find a compelling reason to overturn the referee’s decision and England miss out on their fourth try of the half.

England 19-0 France (Rowland, conv)

13:38 , Mike Jones

Another simple one for Helena Rowland who kicks it over the top. England are totally dominant now.

TRY! England 17-0 France (Matthews, 32’)

13:37 , Mike Jones

32 mins: The Red Roses elect to run the scrum from the penalty and it pays off. The ball is passed over to Alex Matthews as England use the extra body to their advantage.

She goes over the line right beside the sticks.

England 12-0 France

13:36 , Mike Jones

31 mins: Penalty to England! Their forwards pile the pressure on the defence and try to get over the line with running plays.

A quick switch sends the ball out to Tatyana Heard and she passes it down the line. Jessy Tremouliere sticks out a hand and stops the pass illegally.

She earns a yellow cards and the French are down to 14.

England 12-0 France

13:32 , Mike Jones

29 mins: Marine Menager hits Ellie Kildunne with a strong tackle as France force England back past the halfway line. A late tacke on Marlie Packer from Manae Feleu wins the home side a penalty and keeps the England captain on the deck for a little while.

She’s fine to go on, of course.

England 12-0 France (Rowland, conv)

13:29 , Mike Jones

26 mins: Helena Rowland doesn’t miss this time and adds another couple to the score for the Red Rose. England are in control now.

TRY! England 10-0 France (M. Packer, 26’)

13:29 , Mike Jones

26 mins: Wonderful from England! Sadia Kabeya starts the move, breaking through a tackle before England flick the ball out to Tatyana Heard.

Heard drives down the inside right and offloads the ball to Marlie Packer. Packer skips inside, holds off the defender and forces the ball over the line.

Great strength and attacking play from England.

England 5-0 France

13:26 , Mike Jones

23 mins: Oh how good is this?! England’s front row dominate a France scrum and recover the ball winning themselves a penalty in the process.

They elect for field position and win a lineout on the 22 yard line.

England 5-0 France

13:24 , Mike Jones

22 mins: France’s defence certainly doesn’t look as strong as England’s. There are more gaps and England forwards are finding some joy getting into space.

A forward pass turns possession over to France just as the Red Roses get into their opponent’s half.

England 5-0 France

13:22 , Mike Jones

20 mins: Helena Rowland misses the conversion for England.

That was a lightning quick run from Abby Dow to score for the Red Roses on their first attack. Claudia MacDonald has been treated by some of the medical staff for a knock but she’s playing on for now.

TRY! England 5-0 France (Dow, 17’)

13:19 , Mike Jones

17 mins: That’s better! An England scrum sees Lucy Packer collect the ball and send it across to Tatyana Heard. She offloads to Helena Rowland who breaks through the French line and drives up the pitch.

A quick reset sees England send the ball over to the right wing where Abby Dow flies down the line and dives in for the opening try of the match.

England 0-0 France

13:16 , Mike Jones

14 mins: England are being tested now. Quick hands from France after their scrum send the ball down the line. They try to push through the centre but England hold them off on the edge of the try line.

Hannah Botterman comes through with a powerful tackle and turns the ball over to the delight of the onlooking English fans inside the stadium.

England 0-0 France

13:14 , Mike Jones

12 mins: Despite their dominance in possession France haven’t been able to test England. A small kick over the top comes to the right wing where Cyrielle Banet leaps above Lucy Packer to win the ball.

She knocks on but the referees judge that Packer tackled her in the air. Penalty to France.

England 0-0 France

13:10 , Mike Jones

10 mins: Jessy Tremouliere knocks on trying to squeeze through a gap on the left side of England’s line. The first scrum of the match is set up inside England’s 22 and this will be a marker to see how well Hannah Botterman will hold up after her injury.

Lucy Packer loads and collects the ball but the intensity of France means England drill the ball down field.

England 0-0 France

13:08 , Mike Jones

7 mins: Another penalty sees France gain a brilliant field position just in front of the England try line. A decent maul from the French gets them in front of the sticks but a turnover in possession relieves the pressure on the Red Roses!

England 0-0 France

13:05 , Mike Jones

5 mins: Miss! England are let off as Jessy Tremouliere hooks her penalty kick wide to the left of the uprights. That was a big chance for France to take the lead.

England 0-0 France

13:05 , Mike Jones

4 mins: Emilie Boulard sends the ball out wide on the left wing where Axelle Berthoumie drives down the line and needs two defenders to bring her down.

France have been the attacking force over these opening minutes and win the penalty over on the inside right.

England 0-0 France

13:02 , Mike Jones

2 mins: Helena Rowland sends the ball out for a line-out that Agathe Sochat launches back into play. Gaelle Hermet collects the ball and France sweep it along the line.

England’s defence is strong and they force the visitors backwards forcing the French to fall back on their kicking game.

KICK OFF! England 0-0 France

13:00 , Mike Jones

The national anthems are played, the atmosphere builds and the match gets underway. French fly half, Jessy Tremouliere is also playing her final international match and will be retiring after today. Will she be on the winning side?

France kick off the match.

England vs France LIVE: Women’s Six Nations updates

12:55 , Mike Jones

Marlie Packer is back after injury and she leads England out onto the pitch at Twickenham in front of this record breaking crowd. This is going to be a cracking game with honours and trophies on the line.

The two best teams of the Women’s Six Nations go head-to-head to see who’ll claim a grand slam and take the title.

England vs France LIVE: Women’s Six Nations updates

12:52 , Mike Jones

Simon Middleton is bowing out as England’s head coach after today’s match. He’s spent eight years in the role and has formed wonderful relationships with the players.

Would there be a better way to leave the role than a Woman’s Six Nations victory and a grand slam?

England vs France

12:48 , Mike Jones

53,000 fans are expected at Twickenham today to watch England and France fight it out to see who will win the Women’s Six Nations and claim the grand slam.

They’ve been arriving in droves and the atmosphere is building nicely.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

England vs France LIVE: Women’s Six Nations updates

12:41 , Jamie Braidwood

England and France’s Six Nations decider shows how far the women’s game has come

The signs have been up for weeks now, familiar warnings of a major event to come. Expect delays, they say, on 29 April; there’s a rugby game on at Twickenham. Those unfortunate enough to be particularly well acquainted with the Surrey swing of the London Orbital will recognise the notices, ready to swerv the matchday swell around Junction 12 that accompanies any England matchday.

But for those with long associations with women’s rugby, those same neon flashes have brought a lump in the throat and a tear to the eye and a prompt for reflection. On Saturday afternoon, England’s women take to the Twickenham turf for the first time in a standalone fixture, with in excess of 53,000 tickets sold for the best attended women’s rugby fixture in history. The warnings of the crowds to come have stirred special feelings for those who have fought so long to lay the foundations for progress and a day just like this.

England vs France big match preview, by Harry Latham-Coyle

England edge France to win Women’s Six Nations for third successive year

England vs France LIVE: Women’s Six Nations updates

12:34 , Jamie Braidwood

What an atmosphere at Twickenham as the players arrive! It’s a glorious day, fitting of the ocassion.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

England vs France LIVE: Women’s Six Nations updates

12:32 , Jamie Braidwood

A big talking point in this year’s Women’s Six Nations has been the lack competitiveness across the championship, with England and France making it to the final week on the back of four comfortable victories - as everyone expected.

“I’m not sure it can continue in the guise it is now where it’s always going to come down to the last game - England and France - because that’s not good for anybody,” said England coach Simon Middleton.

“We’ve been in this situation for a long time and we have to make these (other) games more competitive. It’s all dependent on how the unions get behind it. The rate of acceleration and closing the gap will all depend on funding.”

Former England captain Sarah Hunter, who retired from the sport after winning her 141st cap in the opening game against Scotland, expects the gap to close but does not see any radical changing of the guard coming soon.

“We’re really fortunate (to have been professional) over the last four or five years, and it’s going to be a push for the teams to catch us, because obviously we want to keep growing and don’t want teams to,” she said.

“I think over the next couple of years, the other countries will really try and narrow that, so that it doesn’t always become a two-horse race between England and France.”

England won’t alter winning approach for Six Nations decider with France

12:23 , Mike Jones

Simon Middleton insists his resurgent Red Roses will not take their foot off the gas ahead of next weekend’s hotly-anticipated TikTok Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam decider against France at Twickenham.

England thumped Ireland 48-0 in Cork on Saturday as tries from Sarah Beckett, Tatyana Heard, Ellie Kildunne, Marlie Packer and Morwenna Talling teed up a tantalising showdown with the similarly unbeaten Les Bleus in London next weekend.

England have now swatted aside Scotland, Italy, Wales and Ireland and boss Middleton says they will stick to their tried and tested procedures ahead of next weekend’s title-deciding clash.

England won’t alter winning approach for Six Nations decider with France

England vs France LIVE: Women’s Six Nations updates

12:17 , Jamie Braidwood

Marlie Packer on leading England out at Twickenham: “It is going to be a very special occasion. To lead the squad out for a Six Nations Grand Slam decider is going to be epic.

“Simon will leave a massive legacy. The group has massive respect for him, what he has done for us as a group and for the women’s game.

“When he told me he was leaving, I gave him a hug and said, ‘Right, let’s go and win this Six Nations, let’s send you off properly’.”

Simon Middleton: “The magnitude of the game this weekend is a huge distraction from potentially everything else.

“It has been a real privilege to be part of it, and we just desperately want to make sure we finish it in the right way on Saturday.

“What we want is more occasions like this one. The beauty about one of these occasions is it sends a massive message out about what is achievable, and it puts pressure on others to respond positively.”

England vs France LIVE: Women’s Six Nations updates

12:10 , Mike Jones

Simon Middleton says “the right person will be the best person” to succeed him as England head coach, whether they are male or female.

Middleton steps down after the Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam showdown against France at Twickenham. During his time in charge, England have reached two World Cup finals, won five Six Nations titles and four Grand Slams.

Sarina Wiegman led England’s Lionesses to success at Women’s Euro 2022, and there are many in English rugby who would like to see a female appointment, post-Middleton.

“We have got some very good coaches/directors of rugby-style females in the game,” Middleton said.

“Giselle Mather (Ealing Trailfinders director of rugby) is one, Jo Yapp (Worcester women’s head coach) being one, Susie Appleby (Exeter Chiefs head coach) being another.

“A lot of it is relevant to the team you build around you and how you manage that team of staff. The right person will be the best person.”

Simon Middleton will step down as England Women’s head coach after the Six Nations (Bradley Collyer/PA) (PA Wire)
Simon Middleton will step down as England Women’s head coach after the Six Nations (Bradley Collyer/PA) (PA Wire)

Middleton on England’s team changes

12:03 , Mike Jones

“Everybody’s fit, remarkably,” said England’s head caoch when asked about his selections for today’s game.

“We obviously had a couple of injury concerns coming out of last week, Marlie [Packer] and Botts [Hannah Botterman] but both have responded really well.

“We’ve got those in and we’ve got Poppy [Cleall] back just at the right time really.

“Obviously, we’d have liked to have had her back as soon as we could do, there’s a little bit of rustiness being taken into account, and gametime and minutes, making sure that we get the most out of the loading that we can. It is great to have her back.”

Rowland returns for England

11:55 , Mike Jones

Helena Rowland has replaced Lagi Tuima at outside centre in a decision for today’s crucial Women’s Six Nations fixture. It’s a move head coach Simon Middleton described as a ‘no-brainer’.

“Lagi has had a great tournament , she has done really well,” Middleton said. “But there are very few players in the game who can do what Helena has done.

“There is a bit of risk and reward about it. Helena only 25 minutes under her belt from last week, but she has been great in training. She gives us a different dimension, so that’s why went down that route.”

England vs France LIVE: Women’s Six Nations updates

11:48 , Mike Jones

Starting line-ups

England XV: Hannah Botterman, Lark Davies, Sarah Bern; Zoe Aldcroft, Sarah Beckett; Sadia Kabeya, Marlie Packer (capt.), Alex Matthews; Lucy Packer, Holly Aitchison; Claudia MacDonald, Tatyana Heard, Helena Rowland, Abby Dow; Ellie Kildunne.

Replacements: Connie Powell, Mackenzie Carson, Maud Muir, Poppy Cleall, Morwenna Talling; Natasha Hunt, Amber Reed, Jess Breach.

France XV: Yiliana Brosseau, Agathe Sochat, Rose Bernadou; Manae Feleu, Audrey Forlani (capt.); Axelle Berthoumie, Gaelle Hermet, Charlotte Escudero; Pauline Bourdon, Jessy Tremouliere; Melissande Llorens, Gabrielle Vernier, Marine Menager, Cyrielle Banet; Emilie Boulard.

Replacements: Elisa Riffonneau, Ambre Mwayembe, Assia Khalfaoui, Romane Menager, Emeline Gros; Alexandra Chambon, Carla Arbez, Maelle Filopon.

England vs France LIVE: Women’s Six Nations updates

11:40 , Jamie Braidwood

France team news: Pauline Bourdon has been passed fit to play for France after a dead leg caused the scrum half to be absent for the win over Wales. She partners Jessy Tremouliere, who will hope to sign off in style before retiring at the end of the tournament. Manae Felou and Rose Bernadou are promoted to the starting tight five, which also includes captain Audrey Forlani.

England vs France LIVE: Women’s Six Nations updates

11:35 , Jamie Braidwood

England team news: The Red Roses have been given a significant boost by the news that Marlie Packer and Hannah Botterman are both fit to start after being forced off against Ireland last weekend. Packer captains the side from openside flanker while Botterman retains her place at loosehead prop in a front row also containing Bristol pair Lark Davies and Sarah Bern. Helena Rowland makes her first start since suffering serious injury in the World Cup semi-final, with the versatile back deployed from the start at outside centre for the first time at international level.

Packer starts for England (PA Wire)
Packer starts for England (PA Wire)

England vs France: Women’s Six Nations updates

11:32 , Jamie Braidwood

England vs France is due to kick off at 1pm BST on Saturday 29 April at Twickenham Stadium in London.

How can I watch it?

Viewers in the United Kingdom can watch the grand slam decider live on BBC Two, with coverage from 12.30pm BST. Coverage will also be available via the BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website.

England vs France LIVE: Women’s Six Nations updates

11:30 , Jamie Braidwood

Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam decider between England and France.

The record attendance for a women’s rugby fixture is set to be smashed as the Red Roses take to Twickenham for the first time in a standalone fixture, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. England and France have once again swept the opposition aside ahead of the final weekend of this year’s Six Nations and the winner will claim the title, as well as the Grand Slam.

England are hoping to win the Six Nations for a fifth year in a row while France are out for revenge after their semi-final defeat to the Red Roses at the World Cup last autumn. While England have had the edge in this rivalry in recent years, France have always pushed them close and will be determined to spoil the Twickenham party with over 50,000 tickets sold for the Six Nations decider.

Follow live updates from England vs France in today’s live blog.