England made a superb start against France in their second World Cup group stage, following on from their 60-6 demolition of Samoa in the opening game.
Two tries from Ryan Hall and one from Luke Thompson saw Shaun Wane’s team race into an 18-0 lead in no time at the University of Bolton Stadium.
However, the tide started to change after the first quarter as France worked their way into the game and hit back through tries from Arthur Mourgue and Eloi Pelissier to go into the break trailing by only six points.
Part of the reason for the shift in momentum came as the French pack started to make more ground through the likes of new Leeds Rhinos signing Justin Sangare.
Speaking at half-time on the BBC, injured St Helens and England prop Alex Walmsley singled out Sangare for praise.
“He has been an absolute handful,” said Walmsley. “I know as a pack we won’t be happy with how we have defended against him.
“We have got to muscle up because he is a big, strong, athletic kid and he runs hard. We need to tighten up against him.
“He has been at the forefront of that France attack, and they have got some joy off the back of him.”
Walmlsey also added in the interview that he did have itchy feet watching from the stands, with the foot injury sustained late in the season denying him an almost certain spot in the England team.
“I’m enjoying being a spectator, but I won’t lie I’m dead jealous,” Walmsley admitted. “I’m green with envy looking down on the boys playing in that jersey again in a World Cup.
“Look, I’m really jealous but I’m trying to enjoy it as a fan and be part of this amazing spectacle as best I can for the next few weeks.”