2007 Rugby World Cup: England 14 - 9 France

Saturday, October 13, 2007

October 13, 2007
21:00 (UTC+2)
England 14 - 9 France Stade de France, Saint-Denis
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
Try: J Lewsey 2' m
Pen: J Wilkinson (2/3) 47', 75'
Drop: J Wilkinson (1/4) 78'
Pen: L Beauxis (3/3) 8', 18', 44'

Defending champions England have defeated hosts France 14 - 9 in the first semi-final of the 2007 Rugby World Cup at the Stade de France, Saint-Denis.

France had been favourites to win the match on home soil, having beaten England comfortably in two World Cup warm-up matches and overcoming favourites New Zealand in the quarter-finals. However England, having improved after stumbling early in their campaign to reach the semi-finals after defeating Australia, won a tense match to reach their second consecutive final in a repeat of the 2003 semi-final.

England took an early lead when Josh Lewsey scored a wide try in the second minute, but Jonny Wilkinson missed the conversion. Lionel Beauxis scored two penalties for France to give them a one point lead in the 18th minute. Both Beauxis and Wilkinson missed chances to score with the boot later in the first half, and France went into the interval leading 6 - 5.

Lionel Beauxis extended France's lead with a penalty early in the second half, but Jonny Wilkinson scored soon after to reduce the deficit back to one point. Neither side could make a breakthrough until Jonny Wilkinson kicked a penalty with five minutes remaining to give England a two point lead. Three minutes later Wilkinson secured England's victory after kicking a drop goal.

England will play the winners of tomorrow's second semi-final between South Africa and Argentina in next week's final, while France will play the losers in the third place match.

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