As expected France were tough opponents for England Under-18 and could have drawn the match with the last kick of the match.
England were leading 18-11 when Nicolas Metge scored for France in the last move of the match. Paul Abadie's conversion failed, leaving England 18-16 winners.
France were the first top score a try by strong centre Brandon Fajardo. A penalty by Billy Burns and then a try by scrumhalf Callum Braley, converted by Burns, gave England the lead.
An exchange of penalties and then a try by fullback Anthony Watson, who had made the running for Braley's try put England 18-11 up.
Then came Metge's try and a conversion that was just wide.
It was a high level of rugby.
England coach John Fletcher said: “It was a tight game. We felt that we probably did enough to score a couple more tries, but we're delighted to get the win. The game lacked a bit of fluidity in the second half and we seemed to get a bit nervous at time, but it’s our first competitive match together and this win will breed confidence.
“Overall I felt that we were the better side, the first half performance was good, but France had a lot of possession in the second half. we've got a hard working, humble group, we've had some good warm up games and learnt some valuable lessons – as you do at this age grade – and they've come through well to get the win today.”
Tries: Braley, Watson
Pens: Burns 2
Tries: Fickou, Metge
Pens: Serin, Abadie
England: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Nathan Earle, 13 Tom Stephenson, 12 Javiah Pohe, 11 Josh Watkins, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Joel Conlon, 7 Gus Jones, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Tom Ellis, 3 Scott Wilson, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi.
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Harry Rudkin, 18 James Thraves, 19 Jake Oldaker, 20 Max Northcote-Green, 21 Tom Chapman, 22 Sam Olver, 23 George Catchpole.
France: 15Nicolas Metge, 14 Belguidoum, 13 Brandon Fajardo, 12 Gaël Fickou, 11 Julien Gardey, 10 Sebastien Dimitri, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Félix Lambey, 7 Yacouba Camara, 6 Raphaël Molcard 5 Jean-Baptiste Singer, 4 Arthur Iturria, 3 Anthony Rochet, 2 Romain Ruffenach, 1 Youssef Amrouni
Reolacements: 16 Oleg Ischchenko, 17 Benoît André, 18 Mickaël Hygonnet, 19 Jordan Ben Haïm, 20 Jean-Blaise Lespinasse, 21 Paul Abadie, 22 François Bouvier, 23 Thomas Bouyxou
Referee: Charles Sampson (England)
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