Eight-try England romp marred by indiscipline

England 44 France 6

craven park

The way Kallum Watkins sauntered over for his hat-trick try in the last minute summed up this match for England – a stroll in the Humberside sunshine.

Watkins was the star turn of an English back-line which was too good for France – although not as overwhelmingly so as they were for the Welsh last week.

Unlike that romp at Wrexham, this performance in front of a 7,000 crowd at Hull KR was marred by moments of indiscipline. Gareth Ellis will have a high tackle reviewed by the video panel this week and in the second half they conceded far too many penalties.

Josh Charnley's reward for his four tries against Wales was to be rested in favour of the local boy, Tom Briscoe. Zak Hardaker, the scorer of another two in Wrexham, stood aside for the return of the fit-again Sam Tomkins.

That looks like evidence of a luxury of choice in the outside backs and England always had plenty of strike-power at their disposal.

They first showed that after only five minutes, with Leroy Cudjoe's cross-field run and Richie Myler's long pass setting up Watkins for the first try of his three.

England then benefited from two decisions which could have gone the other way. For the first, the New Zealand referee, Shane Rehm, opted not to take any further immediate action against Ellis for a high tackle that saw the French full-back, Cyril Stacul, helped from the pitch.

He was taken to hospital for scans and is not expected to play next week. "It was an aberration," said the French coach, Aurelien Cologni, who admitted to being "frustrated" by the referee merely putting the matter on report.

The England coach, Steve McNamara, does not expect it to go any further. "Anyone who knows Gareth knows that he's not that sort of player," he said.

The second key decision was the video referee, Phil Bentham, ruling that there had been no second man in the tackle when Myler stripped the ball from Clement Soubeyras, so Briscoe's try was allowed to stand.

That ushered in England's best period of the game and they produced some lovely rugby before half-time, rewarded by tries from Watkins and Tomkins.

There were two more tries immediately after half-time, the first of them, from a neat offload by Adrian Morley, making Tomkins England's leading try-scorer in their history. That is not quite as impressive as it sounds, the national team having played for most of its existence as Great Britain, but his 14th put him ahead of Alf Ellaby in 1935.

The second came from a suspiciously forward pass from Gareth Hock to Briscoe. Hock was an intriguing choice as man of the match, because, at the end of a week full of rumour about him decamping to Australia, he did at least as much bad as good in this game.

England began to lose their way at this stage, not least by conceding seven penalties in a row, many of them when they were in possession.

"We were guilty of some ill-discipline in certain areas," said McNamara. "We gave ourselves a lot of work to do, but we did it."

His captain, Kevin Sinfield, pulled them round with a try to go with his eventual tally off six goals.

France, who had looked unlikely to ever score despite their glut of possession, finally got over the try-line through their hooker, Kane Bentley, before Watkins almost casually claimed his third with an intercept from Eloi Pelissier.

"He's a cracking young man with an amazing amount of talent," said McNamara.

Watkins' emergence has been one of the major pluses of a tournament that has failed to extend England. Under its arcane format, they play France again in the final at Salford next Sunday and it is hard to imagine the outcome being much different.

"We just need to finish the job off now," said Sinfield.

England Tomkins; Hall, Watkins, Cudjoe, Briscoe; Sinfield, Myler; Mossop, McIlorum, Hill, Ellis, Hock, Jones-Buchanan. Substitutes used Burrow, Morley, Ablett, Harrison.

France Stacul; Cardace, Pala, Duport, Soubeyras; Bosc, Barthau; Elima, Bentley, Casty, Larroyer, Baitieri, Mounis. Substitutes used Pelissier, Griffi, Bemba, Simon.

Referee S Rehm (New Zealand).

Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Manchester United are believed to have made a £15m bid for Marcos Rojo
sportWinger Nani returns to Lisbon for a season-long loan as part of deal
News
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
O'Toole as Cornelius Gallus in ‘Katherine of Alexandria’
filmSadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment