England hold off France to seal Grand Slam and fourth successive crown

France 12 England 24

England claimed their fourth successive Women’s Six Nations title with a hard-fought 24-12 victory over France in the Grand Slam decider in front of a sell-out partisan crowd at the Stade Jean Dauger in Bayonne on Saturday.

The visitors arrived in the Basque Country having won their four previous matches by margins of 50 points or more and capped an impressive campaign with their 23rd straight win in a row and their 10th consecutive victory over France.

England initially found themselves in unchartered territory as France got an early score but the hosts’ bright start soon turned into a long afternoon as the Red Roses hit back in brilliant fashion with three of their own.

Les Blues were held at bay by the physicality and defensive work of Simon Middleton’s side, who were relentless for much of the half and carried their 14-point lead into the break.

England’s maul was key to them continuing their relentless attack while France’s line-out inconsistencies halted theirs as Zoe Aldcroft’s four steals in the first half was the difference between the two sides.

Annaelle Deshaye’s try just after the hour mark gave the home side some hope but England held on to close out the victory and further underline their dominance in the sport.


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