ENGLAND lifted the inaugural Autumn International Series trophy following a 48-4 defeat of France at the City of Salford Stadium.
Warrington Wolves representatives Chris Hill and Adrian Morley kept their places in Steve McNamara’s 17-man squad after helping England to a 44-6 victory in the repeat fixture in Hull a week ago, but there was no place for half back Richie Myler, who was dropped to accommodate Rangi Chase’s return from a groin injury.
The two teams arguably produced the most competitive half of rugby seen in the whole series in the opening 40 minutes, with France’s often vaunted pack providing the home side with the toughest test they have faced since they began their campaign against Wales two weeks ago.
But considering France were looking for their first victory against England in more than 30 years, it was no surprise when McNamara’s men finally showed the attacking class necessary to break down the gallant French defence.
England’s Wigan representatives had a hand in all of the host nation’s scoring in the first half, with Tomkins kicking off proceedings by chiming into the attacking line and overwhelming the French on the left flank to provide the space and pass to send man of the match Ryan Hall over for the first of his four-try haul.
The Warriors full back then doubled England’s advantage with a lethal dummy and sidestep on 25 minutes, before Sean O’Loughlin provided Hall with the pass of the half to cut out three French defenders and bring up 18-0 once Sinfield had added his third conversion.
Both Hill and Morley had been industrious throughout their spells in the first half, with Hill taking on a lot of work in defence and making good metres when called to carry the ball forward.
Morley, too, had looked full of running after replacing Lee Mossop on 22 minutes, but his night came to an early end just two minutes into the second half following a clash of heads with teammate Gareth Ellis.
Wolves' skipper was laid out on the Salford turf for several minutes, but though the 35-year-old played no further part in the match he seemed to carry no serious after effects as he chatted to the England doctor at pitchside minutes later.
The second half was more one-way traffic from England’s point of view, with Josh Charnley racking up his fifth England try in just his second international match to open England’s account after the break.
Only Leeds’ Hall can boast a more prolific scoring record across England’s three Autumn International matches, with a second-half brace taking the winger’s tally to four for the match and six in total.
Further England tries from Tomkins and Rob Burrow completed the inevitable victory, though the French did manage to make a late mark on the scoreboard when Charnley misjudged a dropped ball and Mathius Pala pounced to score the visitor’s only try on 79 minutes.