England won the Autumn Nations Cup final in the most dramatic circumstances on Sunday, as Owen Farrell landed a “golden point” penalty in sudden-death extra time to secure a 22-19 victory over a young French team who had been seconds away from a famous victory.
Farrell converted a Luke Cowan-Dickie try with the last kick of normal time to level the scores, but then hit the post with a penalty 80 seconds into extra time, where the first points scored would win the match.
It was tough on France, who played with all the confidence of youth and, taking the game to the hugely experienced hosts, deservedly led 13-6 at halftime after a sharp Brice Dulin try and the boot of impressive flyhalf Matthieu Jalibert and then a spirited defence of their own line in the face of a relentless England forward assault at the end of the half.
England made most of the running in the second half but an uncharacteristically inaccurate Farrell could not turn enough penalty opportunities into points. Instead, replacement France flyhalf Louis Carbonel landed two pressure kicks which looked to be enough.
However, England mauled Cowan-Dickie over the line in the last minute, and Farrell made the pressure conversion to take the game to extra time – raising a huge roar from the lucky 2,000 fans who had their own golden tickets.