England 44 France 8
Six-try England produced a blistering performance at Twickenham to set up a mouth-watering clash with Wales at the Principality Stadium in two weeks time.
England were on another level to their French opponents and although Jacque Brunel’s side were dreadful, how England dismantled them from the off will be incredibly pleasing for Eddie Jones and bodes well for the future.
There was some excellent individual displays from England but their kicking game has to be the most pleasing aspect as it reaped numerous tries which the French had no answer for.
The control shown by Owen Farrell was evident last weekend in Dublin but he took it up a notch in London this afternoon to guide his side to a huge victory.
England produced a storming start to this game when they scored the opening try with just 66 seconds on the clock.
A knock on in midfield from the French as they were trying to build the first attack of the game was ruthlessly punished by England.
From the turnover ball, the ball was sent quickly to Elliot Daly who produced a dizzying run through some French defenders. At the right time, Daly kicked the ball towards the French line and it was Jonny May who was on hand to ground the ball.
Owen Farrell missed the conversion but he added a penalty a few minutes later before Morgan Parra responded with one of his own to get France’s first points of the game.
Farrell added another three points before England struck again after 24 minutes.
France were on the backfoot and it looked like they would concede a try in the close exchanges until Ben Youngs switched the point of the attack towards May’s wing. The winger side-stepped Damian Penaud to score in the corner to give England a 16-3 lead as Farrell was unsuccessful with the conversion.
Five minutes later, May had his hattrick as a Chris Ashton grubber towards the corner was latched onto by the Leicester Tigers man. Farrell converted this time and with 30 minutes on the clock, England had a 23-3 lead.
Jacques Brunel’s side did hit back before the break when a mistake from England in midfield saw France turnover possession. The ball was spread wide to Penaud who had the pace down the touchline to get over in the corner. Parra missed the touchline conversion to leave the scoreline at 23-8.
Any boost that came with that try was quickly consigned to history as England hit back almost immediately.
A booming high ball wasn’t dealt with by France and from the quick turnover possession, England sent through yet another grubber kick which this time Ashton latched onto. The Sale Sharks winger was brought down just before the line. Kyle Sinckler deputised at scrum-half to send a floating ball out to the wing and Henry Slade just had to step back inside his man to get England’s fourth.
England had to wait 10 minutes to get their first try of the second half. France were attacking in England’s 22 from a lineout set piece until Slade intercepted a loose French pass.
The ball was kicked downfield where referee Nigel Owens deemed Ashton to be tackled without the ball in a position where he was likely to collect and score. A penalty try was awarded and Gael Fickou saw yellow for the incident.
A quick-tap penalty in midfield saw England break with blistering pace. The ball was kicked through as Dupont and May battled it out to touch it done in the try area. Both players failed to get a touch but Farrell came steaming in to get the vital touch just before the ball went dead to get England’s sixth try of the match.
The final 25 minutes played out with little to note as both sides emptied the benches as England strolled to a 36-point margin of victory.
England are now top of the Six Nations table on 10 points with Wales behind them in second on eight points – the two sides face each other in Cardiff in two weeks time.
England: Elliot Daly, Chris Ashton (Nowell 52′), Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi (Ford 61′), Jonny May, Owen Farrell, Ben Youngs (Robson 69′), Mako Vunipola (Moon 44′), Jamie George (Cowan-Dickie 61′), Kyle Sinckler (Cole 57′), Courtney Lawes, George Kruis (Launchbury 47′), Mark Wilson, Tom Curry (Hughes 47′ Curry 52′), Billy Vunipola (Hughes 65′).
Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ben Moon, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Nathan Hughes, Dan Robson, George Ford, Jack Nowell.
France: Yoann Huget (Ramos 41′), Damian Penaud (Ntamack 47′), Mathieu Bastareaud, Geoffrey Doumayrou, Gael Fickou, Camille Lopez, Morgan Parra (Dupont 47′), Jefferson Poirot (Priso 65′ Poirot 70′), Guilhem Guirado, Demba Bamba (Aldegheri 57′), Sebastien Vahaamahina (Willemse 57′), Felix Lambey (Alldritt 70′), Yacouba Camara, Arthur Iturria, Louis Picamoles.
Replacements: Pierre Bourgarit, Dany Priso, Dorian Aldegheri, Paul Willemse, Gregory Alldritt, Antoine Dupont, Romain Ntamack, Thomas Ramos.