Rhinos help England fightback

Lee Smith, Kevin Sinfield and Ryan Hall all crossed for tries for England as they came back from behind to win their opening Gillette Four Nations game.

England scored 30 points without reply in a one-sided second half to get their campaign off to a successful if unconvincing start with a routine 34-12 victory over a fired-up France at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Richie Myler helped spare England’s blushes with a brace of tries but Tony Smith’s men will need a dramatic improvement against Australia next Saturday if they are to avoid a repeat of the 52-4 rout last time the sides met.

France clearly had plenty to prove after their disastrous World Cup and that 12-try humiliation on home soil but coach Bobbie Goulding never said anything about winning.

The former Great Britain scrum-half wanted his side to be competitive on their Gillette Four Nations debut and for long periods they looked the better team.

Lee Smith got England off to a great start with a try however Vincent Duport and Kane Bentley put the visitors 12-4 up by half-time as they sensed a first win over England for more than 27 years. 

It all came good in the end as England ran in five second-half tries to give the 11,529 crowd something to cheer, although most of them had resorted to a Mexican wave long before Jean Philippe Baile was sent off for a high tackle.

Sinfield kicked five goals as well as scoring his first try for England since the World Cup in 2000. Hall sealed the win for England as he intercepted Thomas Bosc’s loose pass 10 metres from his own line and went the length of the field. 

England will now face Australia next Saturday afternoon in their second clash of the Gillette Four Nations.