Leicester Tigers fly-half Tom Hardwick kicked 17 points as England ended France’s unbeaten start to the Under-20s Six Nations Championship on Friday evening.
After bonus-point wins over Italy and Wales, England were beaten in round three by Scotland, but recorded an impressive 22-6 win over France in Beziers to keep their title hopes alive with a home game against Ireland to come next Friday.
Hardwick started a second successive game for England, with Tigers team-mates Jordan Olowofela, Ben White and Sam Lewis also in the starting line-up.
England led 10-3 at half-time following a Cameron Redpath, which Hardwick converted after kicking an earlier penalty.
Hardwick continued to tick over the scoreboard with his penalty kicks as England stretched the lead to 13-3 and then to 16-6 before late red cards for France following as dangerous tackle ended any hope of a comeback for the hosts.
Two more penalties from Hardwick in the late stages secured the victory.
Head coach Steve Bates said: "It had the feel of a big game and to win in France against France is a significant result.
“We’ve got lots of our game in place, but we know we can add a bit more continuity and fluidity to the way we play. We end our tournament against Ireland and we know that is going to be a difficult game, but we haven’t seen the best of our exciting backline yet and we are going to give Ireland our best shot.”
England Under-20s: 15 James Grayson (Northampton Saints), 14 Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins), 13 Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints), 12 Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks), 11 Jordan Olowofela (Leicester Tigers), 10 Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers), 9 Ben White (Leicester Tigers); 1 Toby Trinder (Northampton Saints), 2 Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby), 3 Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs), 4 Dino Lamb (Harlequins), 5 Sam Lewis (Leicester Tigers), 6 Josh Basham (London Irish), 7 Ben Earl (c) (Saracens), 8 Sam Moore (Sale Sharks).
Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre (Wasps), 17 Alex Seville (Gloucester Rugby), 18 Ehren Painter (Northampton Saints), 19 James Scott (Worcester Warriors), 20 Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors), 21 Rory Brand (London Irish), 22 Will Butler (Worcester Warriors), 23 Tom Seabrook (Gloucester Rugby).