Early opener: England's Josh Lewsey dives over to score after just two minutes

PARIS, 13 October - Jonny Wilkinson performed more world cup heroics at the Stade de France on Saturday night to steer England to a 14-9 victory over France and send them into their second consecutive world cup final.

Wilkinson's goal-kicking had again been below par, landing only one of five attempts prior to his match-winning contribution.

But he delivered when it mattered most, kicking a penalty on 75 minutes after a dangerous tackle on Jason Robinson, then landing a drop goal on 78 minutes to clinch the victory.

In what had been a tense, closely fought match France looked to have the edge when they led 9-8 with five minutes remaining.

The hosts had led England 6-5 at half time after an even opening 40 minutes dominated by the boot. Both sides battled to assert their authority but neither were able to gain control.

England opened the match in sensational style when wing Josh Lewsey took advantage of a fortuitous bounce to crash over in the corner inside two minutes, though France full back Damien Traille should have been more assertive in attacking the ball to clear the danger.

The England try stung France into action and Lionel Beauxis had reduced the margin to two points when he kicked truly on eight minutes after England were penalised for not staying on their feet in a ruck.

And the fly half booted France ahead 6-5 when he landed another penalty goal on 18 minutes from just inside 50 metres after England were penalised for incorrect binding at the scrum.

Beauxis booted France further ahead four minutes after the restart when England conceded a penalty for coming in at the side of a ruck.

But Wilkinson finally found his kicking boot to cancel that out three minutes later after France were penalised for the same offence.

However, the England fly half missed again on 59 minutes when he wobbled another snapped drop goal attempt with his right boot off an upright back into French possession.

When it mattered most, though, Wilkinson again proved England's go-to man and he didn't fail them.

RNS mr