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).

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Sport
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Arts and Entertainment
film
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

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style