Flood and England slump to quarter-final defeat

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EX-ALNWICK and Morpeth centre Toby Flood couldn't make his mark as a poor England crashed out of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand this morning.

Following a week of selection speculation Flood had started at inside centre with Wilkinson at number 10 in an awful England performance that saw the French 16-0 up at half-time in Auckland.

Neither player could stamp their authority on the game, which ended in a 19-12 defeat, and indeed no one in white showered themselves in glory with the possible exception of Flood's Leicester teammate Manu Tuilagi.

Other than a couple of line breaks late on, Flood's only contribution of note was an abysmal drop-goal attempt in the 26th minute.

In the second half at Eden Park, England managed to score two tries, although a drop-goal from substitute Trinh-Duc ensured England needed another converted try.

The cause wasn't helped by Flood missing the relatively straightforward conversion after Mark Cueto scored the second try, which would have left England five points adrift with minutes to spare.

But in the end, England were outplayed by a revitalised France side and just couldn't avoid the silly mistakes that have plagued their World Cup campaign.

The French, finally gaining revenge for the two semi-final defeats at the hands of England in 2003 and 2007, will go on to face the Welsh in the semi-final next week.