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Live Commentary: England 34-6 France - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's coverage from the Rugby League World Cup where England took on France in the quarter-finals in Wigan.
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England took on France at the DW Stadium on Saturday night with the chance to advance to the last four of the Rugby World Cup.

Steve McNamara's went into the match as the favourites after winning in their last two group matches, while French had only beaten Papua New Guinea and scraped through the last round in third place.

However, England ran in six tries in a convincing win to set up a semi-final clash with New Zealand.

Read how the match unfolded in our live commentary below.


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Good evening and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the Rugby League World Cup where England take on France in the quarter-finals.

We're in for a huge game tonight at the DW Stadium in Wigan, as a place in the semi-finals is up for grabs. Australia and New Zealand have already booked their places in the last four with wins over USA and Scotland respectively.

Samoa and Fiji meet tomorrow in the last eight, but our attention is in the North West tonight where England are expected to beat France to advance.

England, as mentioned, as the big favourites for this and continue to grow stronger as the tournament goes on. They endured a disruptive start prior to the tournament, and were beaten by Australia in their opening match. However, England have since responded with wins over Ireland and Fiji and are starting to hit top form on home soil.

Meanwhile, France haven't had the greatest campaign so far. They've only edge past minnows Papua New Guinea so far, with defeats to Samoa and reigning champions New Zealand. They are the underdogs today, but will have a point to prove.

Let's bring you the team news.

ENGLAND XIII: Tomkins, Charnley, Watkins, Cudjoe, Hall, Chase, Sinfield, Graham, McIlorum, Hill, Burgess, Westwood, O'Loughlin

McNamara has made two changes to the side that got the better of Fiji last time out in the group stages.

Josh Charnley and Chris Hill both come into the team. Brett Ferres drops to the bench, while Rob Burrow misses out altogether, with James Roby taking his spot among the replacements.

So a shuffle of the pack in the forwards for England, let's take a look at their bench.

ENGLAND REPLACEMENTS: Roby, Ferres, Burgess, Farrell

One interestingly story to bear in mind is that Sam Tomkins is likely to play his last match at the DW Stadium for quite some time. The Wigan man is off to play in New Zealand following the tournament, and a number of the club's supporters have turned up to the ground wearing their team's colours with Tomkins' name on the back of their shirts. Emotional night on the way for him, and how he will want to go out with a bang.

Right, now for the French.

FRANCE XIII: Escare, Cardace, Baile, Duport, Greenshields, Bosc, Barthau, Fakir, Bentley, Casty, Elima, Raguin, Mounis

Richard Agar welcomes back skipper Olivier Elima to the startling lineup and also includes recently called-up winger Damien Cardace.

Younes Khattabi, who was also drafted into the squad, begins the match on the bench.

FRANCE REPLACEMENTS: Pellissier, Khattabi, Maria, Simon

So they are the teams, and we're just 10 minutes away from this huge match.

These two nations last went toe to toe in the Autumn internationals of 2012, where England battered the French 48-4. France have a real task on their hands today.

France are beginning to leave the dressing room, with kick off just minutes away. They're first in the tunnel.

England, wearing red tracksuit tops over their all-white home strip, have joined France in the tunnel. Captain Kevin Sinfield's face says it all; England are ready to go.

The players are out, the fireworks are off, the crowd are going mad: England versus France is just moments away.

France, wearing their all-navy kit with white trim, get the national anthems underway.

And now for England; 'God save our gracious Queen...'

After hearing those national anthems being sung, I wouldn't recommend any of the England lads to give up their day jobs any time soon.

KICKOFF! France, playing from left to right, get the match underway.

Bentley has already been taken off for France, with Pellissier coming on.

France have started this match on the front foot, and Raguin bursts through a tackle down the middle. They've gone through the five phases and try a kick to the edge of the try line, but England intercept and have possession.

England are being made to work hard here early on.

TRY! England 0-4 France (Vincent Duport)

This is a shock! France lead! Raguin holds off a number of England bodies before making a brilliant offload just a few metres from the line to Duport, who goes over for the first try of the match. He hurt his arm in the process, but is back up after some treatment.

Thomas Bosc with the kick.

CONVERSION! England 0-6 France (Thomas Bosc)

Bosc steps up, and tamely strokes the ball from the left through the posts.

How will England respond? They would not have been expecting that sort of start from the French.

France are on the attack once again, and England need to wake up.

Better play from Tomkins, who dinks a ball over the top at the fifth tackle and Ryan Hall brilliantly catches it just metres from the try line.

England turn the ball over after some sloppy play from France, the hosts are in a great position.

So close for England there! Chase makes a great pass to Hill, who drives towards the posts, but France can just keep him out. A spate of handbags breaks out following that, but England have the ball at the scrum.

TRY! England 4-6 France (Josh Charnley)

Lovely play from England as they get back in it. A wonderful passing move falls to Tomkins on the right, who beats one man before brilliantly offloading to Charnley to go over.

CONVERSION! England 6-6 France (Kevin Sinfield)

It's swerving outwards, but Sinfield's kick just stays straight enough to add the extras.

Tomkins is really in the mood tonight. He bursts through the France defence, holding off a couple of challenges, and makes great ground forward.

England have responded well since going behind early on. They have possession inside their own half at the moment as they try to break forward.

Chase finds some space on the left and darts inside following a dummy, Barthau makes a high challenge and more handbags break out. England have the decision.

TRY! England 10-6 France (Ryan Hall)

England are now ahead for the first time, as they wing it out to Hall on the flank after Chase makes a lot of ground forward. Tomkins picks up the ball and flies it to Hall, who gases it over the line for the try.

CONVERSION! England 12-6 France (Kevin Sinfield)

Sinfield's kick is right on the chalk of the left touchline, but he curls it back in between the posts.

Well after a shock start, we're just over the halfway point of this first half and England now lead 12-6.

England are hovering around the French try line, but are being held out for now. That is until England are given a penalty.

Sinfield pulls off two dummies before heading just short of the posts, but England have been penalised for obstruction for an earlier part of the move.

Elima fails to hold on to a pass just short of the halfway line, and England have the ball at the scrum.

England going close again with four tackles to go, Graham makes a brilliant carry.

TRY! England 16-6 France (Josh Charnley)

It's a second try for Charnley and a third for England as they take a commanding lead. Sinfield finds Watkins, who draws in a defender before flicking the ball to Charnley who catches and touches it down on the flank.

Sinfield misses the kick as he curls it wide across the face of the posts. It's two from three for him.

TRY! England 20-6 France (Ryan Hall)

England are running riot now and it's a second for Hall. Graham makes a sensational carry down the middle before passing the ball along the line. Cudjoe makes a brilliant offload to Hall, who has time and space to dive over.

CONVERSION! England 22-6 France (Kevin Sinfield)

He missed his last one but he's back to scoring now. Sinfield adds the extra two points.

England are starting to turn on the style now. They can only beat what is in front of them, and it is still early days. However, having seen Australia beat USA 62-0 and New Zealand overcome Scotland 40-4, England are doing their best to show that they mean business.

England are starting to turn on the style now. They can only beat what is in front of them, and it is still early days. However, having seen Australia beat USA 62-0 and New Zealand overcome Scotland 40-4, England are doing their best to show that they mean business.

France finally make their way back into the England half and they look as if they're going to score on two occasions. Raguin both times charging towards the line, but England pull off some impressive defending to prevent the try.

Greenshields now goes close, but England hang on at the last second. France had the advantage, but will now put the ball in at the scrum.

Barthau tries a kick to the corner on the fourth tackle, but Charnley gets there first and wins the penalty after being tackled in the air.

Burgess ploughs forward for England as they look to add one last try before half time. However, Tomkins and Watkins fail to get control of the ball and juggle away the chance. France scrum.

HALF TIME: England 22-6 France

Well that was a thoroughly absorbing first half. After a surprisingly quick start from the French, England turned on the style and lead at the break.

Vincent Duport went over in the fourth minute to put France ahead, but Josh Charnley and Ryan Hall responded with two tries each to put England firmly in the driving seat.

The teams are back out in Wigan.

KICKOFF! England, playing to the right, get the match back underway.

France, like in the first half, have made a decent start to this second half. Escare could have been in on the flank their but he couldn't reach the pass from Greenshields.

England are starting to hit back and Cudjoe powers through down the left. It takes four frantic Frenchman to bring down the England man.

Chase sneaks his way around the French backline off the pass of Graham, but Elima snatches the ball from his grasp and wheels away. Brilliant play from the Frenchman.

O'Loughlin goes over and looks as if he has scored England's fifth try, but the referee is sending this one to the TMO.

Sinfield kicks the ball from the centre out to the right, Hall goes up for the catch and forces the France man to knock the ball back before Cudjoe offloads to the onrushing O'Loughlin.

TRY! England 26-6 France (Sean O'Loughlin)

It's been given, and rightly so. Great stuff from England.

CONVERSION! England 28-6 France (Kevin Sinfield)

Sinfield, again adopting his awkward angle away from the ball, successfully converts.

France on the attack, albeit in scrappy fashion, by Raguin goes close on the wide right, but England are holding their own at the moment.

France can't find a way through this resilient England defence. And we will now have a scrum 10 metres from the England line.

A bit of a kicking competition at the moment, as both sides being forced to boot it after the fifth tackle.

Hall thinks he is played in on the far left, but the pass was forward and he is pulled back. The game is rooted to the centre of the field at the moment.

Credit to France, they are really giving it a go and threatening at the moment.

The match is very untidy at the moment, Chase, who is sporting a fantastic movember by the way, knocks the ball on and punches it to the ground in frustration. French ball.

Now Ryan Hall knocks it on, and France have another scrum. England just cannot get hold of the ball.

As frustrating as it is for England that they cannot hold possession, they have defended ever so well when put under the kosh by France. They're just under 18 minutes away from booking a date with New Zealand in the semi-finals.

England finally clear the ball downfield and look as if they are going to keep France in their own half, which is a big relief for the hosts.

Barthau kicks the ball downfield after the fifth tackle which Charnley catches right on the touchline, and manages to keep his balance and tip-toe his way inside. Brilliant.

Tomkins spins away from his man just a matter of metres from the line and wins a penalty. He would love to score a final try at the DW Stadium.

Burgess dives just inches from the try line, before getting tackled. His pass is so nearly intercepted by Fakir, but he knocks it on and we will have a scrum.

England can't believe they haven't scored here. They had the numbers in their favour and look to be heading over a number of times, but France can hold on.

Rangi Chase is forced to leave the field and change his shirt after getting a lot of blood on his original jersey. He won't be able to get involved in this move.

France back on the attack, and some wonderful play from Pellissier has won them another six plays.

They can make the most of it though, and England are revving themselves up to try to add one more score.

England fail to find a way through once more, before Cardace picks up the loose ball and darts downfield. He is eventually caught by Ferres.

SIN BIN! Horrible shame for Sam Tomkins, who has just been named man of the match in his final game for now at the DW Stadium, is sent to the stands for a professional foul. He won't have enough time to come back on, and England will play the remaining minutes with 12 men.

It's been a much quieter second half in terms of points, but England did the damage in the first half.

It looks as if Brett Ferres has just scored England's sixth try of the match, but it's being sent to the TMO.

TRY! England 32-6 France (Brett Ferres)

England are cleared of any obstruction and Ferres gets in on the act after being played in by Chase.

CONVERSION! England 34-6 France (Kevin Sinfield)

Sinfield couldn't have an easier kick, and adds the extra two points.

FULL TIME: England 34-6 France

That's it. England are through to the semi-finals to face New Zealand next week, while France head home.

The match was effectively over at the break after England ran in four tries before half time. They added two in the second after France had taken a shock lead early in the match.

Josh Charnley and Ryan Hall both scored two tries each, while Sean O'Loughlin and Brett Ferres went over after the break. Vincent Duport's try gave France the lead in the fourth minute.

So at the moment the semi-final draw looks like this:
New Zealand vs. England
Australia vs. Samoa/Fiji

Well that's it from me, Matt Cotton, I hope you enjoyed the game. Until the next time, it's goodnight.

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Coach Steve McNamara of England looks on during the Four Nations match between the New Zealand Kiwis and England at Westpac Stadium on October 23, 2010
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