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England women pipped to 6 Nations grand slam by France

England Women's bid for the 6 Nations grand slam fell short on Friday night as they were beaten 17-12 by France at Stade de la Rabine.

Like their male counterparts, the women had headed to France hoping to make it five wins out of five, but unlike the men they also needed victory in this final fixture to win the Six Nations title.

England Women's bid for the Six Nations grand slam fell short. Credit: PA

Instead the French took that honour as Gaelle Mignot's second try of the night 10 minutes from time gave them the win.

England had led 7-5 at half-time on the back of Lydia Thompson's try, in which she broke four tackles to reach the corner before Amber Reed kicked the conversion.

But France captain Mignot replied and the hosts took the lead when a maul drove Audrey Forlani over and Camile Cabalou converted.

Tamara Taylor replied for England and the scores were tied when Reed's conversion kick struck the upright.

But with 10 minutes left, the French drove forward from a line-out and Mignot finished the move with what proved to be the winning try.

Man Utd's Rashford called into England U-20 squad

Marcus Rashford will not be fast-tracked into Roy Hodgson's squad as the Manchester United teenager will spend the international break with England's Under-20s.

The 18-year-old has rapidly gone from unknown to one of the country's most feted young players after a remarkable start to life at Old Trafford.

Rashford's senior England debut will have to wait. Credit: PA

Anthony Martial's injury ahead of last month's Europa League tie with FC Midtjylland saw Rashford thrown in at the deep end - an opportunity the striker capitalised on in style, netting twice as United won the do-or-die last-32 second leg 5-1.

As if that was not enough, Rashford followed that up by netting another double at Old Trafford as title hopefuls Arsenal were defeated 3-2.

The teenager has now started six successive United matches, leading to talk of a late place in the Euro 2016 squad - fuelled in part by England boss Hodgson refusing to rule the striker out of contention.

However, such talk is likely to be extinguished by Wednesday's announcement that the teenager will be with the under-20s instead of the senior squad during the upcoming international break.

Rashford has been named in Keith Downing's 20-man squad to face Canada in a friendly at Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium on March 27.

England to face Portugal nine days before Euro 2016

Ronaldo will take his Portugal team to Wembley on June 2nd. Credit: PA

England will play Turkey on May 22, Australia on May 27 and Portugal on June 2 in warm-up friendlies before Euro 2016, the Football Association has announced.

The fixture against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal will give Roy Hodgson's side a Wembley send-off just nine days before their Euro 2016 campaign kicks-off against Russia.

Here are the details of England's summer schedule, beginning with the friendly against Turkey on May 22nd and ending with the final group stage fixture against Slovakia on June 20th:

  • Sunday 22 May - England v Turkey at the Manchester City Stadium
  • Friday 27 May - England v Australia at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland
  • Thursday 31 May - UEFA deadline for all competing nations to submit a squad of 23 players for Euro 2016
  • Thursday 2 June - England v Portugal at Wembley Stadium
  • Monday 6 June - England depart for France 2016
  • Saturday 11 June - England v Russia, Stade Velodrome, Marseille
  • Thursday 16 June - England v Wales, Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens Agglo
  • Monday 20 June - Slovakia v England, Stade Geoffroy Guichard, St Etienne.


Finn burst boosts England in Durban

Steven Finn took three wickets to keep England on course for victory in the first Test, but Jonny Bairstow's missed stumping of AB De Villiers gave South Africa faint hope in Durban.

Finn, a late addition to the touring squad after a foot injury, took out Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla and Faf Du Plessis as the Proteas closed the fourth day on 136 for four, 280 short of an improbable winning mark.

They will have little serious interest in hunting down a record 416 but the presence of master batsman De Villiers at least gives them a chance of surviving three sessions for the draw.

England set South Africa record run chase of 416

England set South Africa a record run chase of 416 to win the first Test in Durban, Jonny Bairstow to the fore with a superb 79 on the fourth afternoon.

The tourists finished 326 all out having lost regular wickets in pursuit of quick runs, leaving the hosts with an improbable victory target or, more realistically, four and a half sessions to save the game.

The previous best chase to win a Test at Kingsmead is the 340 made by South Africa against Australia in 2002, and the Proteas' previous best in history is the remarkable 414 they scored in Perth seven years ago.

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