Sarah Bern helps resilient England past jersey World Cup final

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England have booked the showdown with New Zealand the Women’s World Cup has been Authentic James Van Riemsdyk Youth Jersey craving and if their heroic tacklers can patch themselves up in time they have every chance of defending their crown. It remains a big if however, after a performance of lung-busting resilience – typified by their match-winning prop Sarah Bern – edged out France in a semi-final for the ages.Bern is the youngest member of England’s squad at only 20 but Simon Middleton has unearthed a gem of a tighthead prop while Megan Jones, who added the second try at the death, is another for the future. Emily Scarratt added the rest of the points from the tee as England clinched their 13th victory in succession – and possibly the hardest of the lot.
It was cruel on France – this is the seventh time they have fallen at the semi-final stage – but England’s refusal to wilt in the face of fierce pressure in the first half will have given them confidence they can defend their trophy on Saturday.
“They are the last group to panic. They know when to step up – they have been in a lot of tough, pressurised situations this year and have come out on the right side of them all,” said Middleton. “Now we have one more to do. They know exactly what it will take on Saturday to get there.”An early French onslaught was expected, and so it materialised. The greasy ball made handling difficult – less of a problem for England considering how little of the ball they saw in the opening 10 minutes – but France flexed their muscles and made their considerable forward power felt.
A first scrum had to be reset with both sides aware of the psychological advantage to be gained, and at the second time of asking England were steamrollered.That set in motion phase after phase of French pressure – Marlie Packer and Rachael Burford led the rearguard as England made what felt like scores of tackles inside the first 10 minutes. France’s ferocity in attack was remarkable, England’s resilience equally so.By half-time England had made 70 tackles – Packer 14 of them – but they were also first on the scoreboard after France were penalised at the breakdown following a hefty carry from the hooker Amy Cokayne. Scarratt was on the money from the tee.
Lesser sides might have crumbled in the face of France’s pressure but in Scarratt and Katy Mclean, England possess two of the best kickers from hand – a significant string to their bow as both kicked long to relieve the pressure. It was Scarratt, too, who made the first telling line-break, taking a flat pass from Burford and galloping down the right wing before feeding Natasha Hunt inside – the England scrum-half was met by a thunderous tackle from Elodie Guiglion.Now it was France’s turn to defend but after a couple of rumbles from the England forwards, Les Bleues were awarded another penalty at the breakdown.England’s penalty count, by this stage at eight, was hurting them, denying Simon Middleton’s side momentum and crucially, just a few minutes before the break, Shannon Izar levelled from the tee: it was 3–3 at half-time, and terrifically tense.
Danielle Waterman failed to reappear after the break following a head injury assessment, but Authentic Jimmy Smith Womens Jersey England began the second half on the front foot – Burford again making her presence felt on the gainline. There was a moment of magic from Scarratt, scooping up Caroline Drouin’s chip ahead with outrageous dexterity before feeding Kay Wilson, only for England’s winger to lose control of the ball as France scrambled.Scarratt edged England ahead with a penalty, then missed another before the French dam finally broke when, again, England’s forwards came in wave after wave and the England tighthead Bern was shoved over just to the right of the posts for the first try of the match.With a little more than 10 minutes to go, France thought they had their first try through the flanker Julie Annery but the referee Graham Cooper went upstairs and Megan Jones, on for Waterman, was adjudged to have timed her tackle perfectly, yanking the French openside into touch. And Jones’s evening was to get even better, splashing on to the loose ball in the final minute for England’s second try as France grew ever more desperate.
“We said at half-time that if we were patient and we kept the temp up, and we just tweaked what we were doing, we’d get on top of them, and we dominated large parts of the second half,” Middleton added. “New Zealand have played the way New Zealand play. They’ve got loads of flair, they’ve got physicality. We’ve been keeping tabs on them but not a massive amount, we’ve had our own stuff to deal with. We’ve got a bank of information on them and we’ll have a good look at them.Earlier, a spirited USA side played their part in an absorbing first semi-final before New Zealand pulled clear in the last quarter. The USA were ahead after 17 minutes when Alev Kelter converted Kris Thomas’s try but a Kendra Cocksedge penalty and Woodman’s first score put the Black Ferns ahead at the interval. Woodman finished the match with four tries, she now has 13 for the tournament, as New Zealand pulled clear after the break for a 45-12 victory. Some final awaits on Saturday.”
England Waterman; Thompson, Scarratt, Burford (Reed, 65), Wilson; Mclean, Hunt (Mason, 75); Cornborough (Clark, 70), Cokayne (Fleetwood, 70), Bern (Lucas, 70), Scott, Taylor, Matthews (Millar-Mills, 73), Packer (Noel-Smith, 62), Hunter (capt).Tries Bern, Jones. Cons Scarratt 2. Pens Scarratt 2.France Amédée; Guiglion (Pelle, 70), Ladagnous, Poublan, Izar; Drouin, Rivoalen (Le Pesq, 55); Deshaye (Arricastre, 47), Mignot (capt; Thomas, 68), Duval (Carricaburu, 68), Corson, Forlani (Andre, 74), Mayans, Annery, N’Diaye. Pen Izar.


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