WARRIORS Women wing Lydia Thompson helped England to complete back-to-back victories over France with a late winning try at Exeter’s Sandy Park.
Thompson, who won her 45th cap, struck after England ran back a poor clearance kick from France and centre Emily Scarratt delivered the scoring pass to seal the 17-15 triumph.
Thompson’s try gave England their fourth win a row against France and it backed up a 20-10 success in Clermont-Ferrand last week.
After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, where England came closest to scoring before an excellent defensive tackle prevented Scarratt from crossing, it was Jessy Tremouliere’s penalty that gave France the lead.
France then got the opening try when scrum-half Laure Sansus kicked over the top inside the 22, and beat the covering defence to the bounce before she hacked on and gathered to cross.
After missing her first attempt from the tee, Scarratt got England on the board through a simple penalty in front of the posts.
Then, after England worked through a number of phases to earn a second penalty, Scarratt knocked that over to reach the 500 points milestone in international rugby.
The first points after the break went England’s way with another Scarratt penalty and some territory inside the France 22 was rewarded with more points, again from Scarratt’s boot for a 12-8 lead.
France crossed for a second time on 65 minutes to retake the lead when, from a five-metre scrum, Sansus darted down the blindside to work a two-on-one and fed Caroline Boujard for an easy score, with Tremouliere adding the conversion.
England played the closing stages of the game a player down after Zoe Aldcroft was sent to the sin-bin for her clearout but Romane Menager was also shown a yellow card minutes later for being offisde.
A poor clearance kick allowed the Red Roses to secure a dramatic last minute try when the ball was worked to the right wing and Scarratt fed Thompson and the winger sprinted in and dived over for the victory.