Owen Farrell put a poor goal-kicking display behind him to land the winning penalty as England edged France 22-19 in ‘sudden death’ extra-time of a dramatic Autumn Nations Cup final at Twickenham on Sunday.

France, twice ahead by seven points and missing most of their first-choice players, were 19-12 up when England replacement forward Luke Cowan-Dickie forced his way for a close-range try in the final minute of normal time.

England captain Farrell’s conversion sent the match into two extra-time periods of 10 minutes each, with the side scoring first the winners

Farrell, who saw a penalty hit the post two minutes into ‘sudden death’, then landed the winning penalty five minutes into the second half of extra-time.

Defeat was harsh on a France side who defied a vast gap in experience as fans returned to Twickenham for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.

“It wasn’t the French farce but the French force,” said flanker Cameron Woki.

“We showed that we can compete against England so we can be proud of ourselves.”

France’s starting XV, without the likes of scrum-half Antoine Dupont and back-row Gregory Alldritt, boasted just 68 caps between them compared to England’s 772.

But the French still led 13-6 at the break after full-back Brice Dulin scored the only try of the first half.

“Great credit to France, they have a young team but played with no fear,” England coach Eddie Jones told Amazon Prime after his side’s last match of 2020. “I was so pleased with the players in the second half, we were getting stronger and stronger.”

Farrell added: “They gave me a few chances of winning it but I didn’t make them. I am thankful we got the win.”

France were the only team to beat Six Nations champions England this year, winning 24-17 in Paris in February.

But the French XV on Sunday bore little relation to that side, a release agreement with the Top 14 clubs limiting individual players’ to three appearances on a team sheet in a six-game end-of-year schedule re-arranged due to COVID-19.

“We couldn’t get away with a win but the boys delivered so much for more than 80 minutes,” said France team manager Raphael Ibanez.

“The good thing is we have so many talented and promising players and I think they were outstanding today.”

Farrell kicked England into a 3-0 lead but France hit back in the 15th minute just as a chorus of ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’, an England fans’ anthem now regarded as controversial because of its associations with American slavery, rang round the ground.

England knocked on at a line-out, with France working the loose ball across the field.

Fly-half Matthieu Jalibert, 22, shrugged off the tackle of England hooker Jamie George, evaded centre Farrell and then delivered a superb delayed pass that sent full-back Dulin — the most experienced player in the French XV with 30 caps — in for a try at the left corner.

Jalibert converted and France led 7-3.

England’s Elliot Daly, a long-range kick specialist, cut the lead to a point with a 48-metre penalty before Jalibert landed two more penalties for France.

On the stroke of half-time England declined a kickable penalty in the hope of scoring an equalising converted try from a close-range line-out.

But a succession of drives failed to pierce the French defence before England prop Ellis Genge, who only replaced the injured Mako Vunipola on Saturday, knocked on as he tried to ground the ball.

Farrell reduced France’s lead to 13-9 early in the second half with a 40-metre penalty as No 8 Billy Vunipola led a revitalised England pack.

But normally reliable goal-kicker Farrell missed his next two chances, both well within range, and France still led by four points

With Jalibert off the field, replacement Louis Carbonel, just 21 and playing in only his second international landed a 38-metre chance to put France 16-9 ahead with 10 minutes left.

Farrell’s 73rd-minute penalty cut the deficit.

But England, last year’s losing World Cup finalists, gave Carbonel another chance and his penalty put France a converted try ahead at 19-12.

Cowan-Dickie then denied France in the 80th minute before England lock Maro Itoje’s decisive turnover led to Farrell’s winning kick.