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Rugby News

England hold nerve in Autumn Nations Cup Final

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England beat France in extra-time in a dramatic Autumn Nations Cup Final at Twickenham.

Leicester Tigers trio Ben Youngs, George Ford and Ellis Genge will return to club duties this week after starting the last international fixture of the calendar year.

Twickenham welcomed its first international crowd since the 2020 Six Nations as 2,000 supporters were admitted and England landed a couple of early penalties but then saw an inexperienced French side fight back with a try from full-back Brice Dulin to lead 10-6.

France added another three points before England enjoyed their best spell of pressure in attack, with Ford and Genge tantalisingly close to a score before being shut out by stubborn defence.

England still trailed 13-6 at half-time and the teams traded kicks in the second period until France, leading 19-12, were penalised with a minute to play and Ford landed his punt to touch on the money into the left-hand corner.

From the five-metre lineout, England set up a position for hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie to score and Owen Farrell made it 19-19 with the kick to force the game into sudden-death extra-time.

Just 71 seconds of the extra period had elapsed when referee Andrew Brace – who had former Tigers scrum-half Frank Murphy among his assistants – penalised the French on the floor but Farrell saw his kick agonisingly bounce out off the right-hand post.

Farrell, though, finally got one more chance early in the second period of extra-time, after Ford put France under pressure with another astute kick towards the corner and this time he was on target to seal the victory.