25th June 2017, 16:30 | englandrl
Lois Forsell scored a late try as England Women ground out a dramatic 14-8 win over France Women to complete a 2-0 series win in France.
Amy Hardcastle opened the scoring, Tara Stanley with the goal, before Manon Sanarra hit back for France to make it 6-4 at half time.
Stanley then scored herself, before France's Pauline Vaissiere got over, leaving England 10-8 up.
A tense finish ensued, but Forsell's try in the dying embers of the match made sure of a hard-fought victory for the visitors.
Thirty degree heat greeted the teams at the Stade de la Mer in Perpignan, but it was England who drew first blood.
Though France enjoyed the better early territory, a superb 40/20 by hooker Forsell put England in control; Bradford's Hardcastle making it four tries in two games after powering over from the resulting scrum.
But, cheered on by a large and vocal home crowd, France were undeterred and made their mark with some aggressive defence, forcing a series of mistakes from the visitors.
And they got their reward soon after as centre Sanarra burst over to make it one try apiece.
France were on a roll but England, led by a stern effort from captain Andrea Dobson, Hardcastle and Shona Hoyle, held their slender two-point lead at the break.
Spurred on by a half time team talk, England flew out of the blocks in the second period, making a perfect start as Stanley latched on to a pinpoint Kirsty Moroney kick to the corner.
That left England 10-4 up and in the ascendancy.
But France continued to fight and found a way back into the match as Vaissere crossed out wide for the hosts, leaving the gap at just two points once again going into the final quarter.
A dramatic finish was in store, with France piling on the pressure as they looked to go ahead for the first time.
But hooker Forsell made sure of the result late on, as she forced her way over from close range after a barnstorming Hardcastle run, leaving the full time score at England 14-8 France.
The win completed a 2-0 series victory for the visitors, with Jess Courtman, Lois Forsell, Shona Hoyle and Castleford Tigers debutant Katie Hepworth all earning praise in the second test, while full back Charlotte Booth was awarded Player of the Match.
1. Charlotte Booth (Bradford Bulls)
2. Tara Stanley (Thatto Heath-St Helens)
3. Amy Hardcastle (Bradford Bulls)
4. Rachel Thompson (Thatto Heath-St Helens)
5. Kayleigh Bulman (Featherstone Rovers)
6. Claire Garner (Bradford Bulls)
7. Kirsty Moroney (Bradford Bulls)
8. Danika Priim (Bradford Bulls)
9. Lois Forsell (Bradford Bulls)
10. Andrea Dobson (Featherstone Rovers)
11. Shona Hoyle (Bradford Bulls)
12. Natalie Harrowell (Featherstone Rovers)
13. Stacey White (Bradford Bulls)
14. Tara Jones (Thatto Heath-St Helens)
15. Chantelle Crowl (Thatto Heath-St Helens)
16. Katie Hepworth (Castleford Tigers)
17. Jess Courtman (Bradford Bulls)
1. Elisa Ciria
2. Lucie Castillo
3. Laureane Biville
4. Manon Sanarra
5. Pauline Vaissiere
6. Amel Mohamdi
7. Alice Varela
8. Cyndia Mansard
9. Fanny Ramos
10. Leila Bassahli
11. Gaelle Alverhne
12. Anniston Mikalef
13. Ophelle Coll
14. Perrine Montsarrat
15. Pauline Seguier
16. Sandrine Lloria
17. Aimee Banukone