Chris Reakes

Right: Chris Reakes in action at Richmond.

University of Exeter Rugby Scholars take to the pitch against France

England Students defeated their French counterparts 25-23 in a thrilling encounter at Richmond last Friday.

Exeter students Chris Reakes, 3rd Exercise and Sports Science, and Tom Sargeant, 2nd year Geography, made their first starts for England Students at fly half and flanker respectively, with Reakes contributing 10 points with the boot and Sargeant having a hand in creating one of England's three tries just before half time.

France raced into a 17-7 lead within the first 20 minutes before England hit back with tries from winger Sam Miller (Bath), Adam Bellamy (Bristol) and Richard de Carpentier (UWIC) to lead 22-17 at the break.

The second half was much tighter, with the sides trading penalties before France closed the gap to 2 points with a penalty 6 minutes from time. England however hung on for the win to the delight of the English players and the home crowd. 

" It was a really tough, physical match" said Sargeant "the French were very strong and powerful but we showed a lot of heart and determination to turn the match in our favour, we are absolutely delighted with the result and this gives us a good platform to build on for the coming fixtures". Reakes added "It was a really enjoyable game but I felt we could have and possibly should have won more convincingly. However to beat France in our first game and still feel that there are areas to work on is a big positive for the rest of the season".

England now face the Portugal national side, who are currently ranked 20th in the IRB world rankings, in Lisbon on 5th March, before travelling to Paris for a return fixture on 26th March.

Author Tom Sargeant.

Date: 1 March 2011