2022 Guinness Six Nations Review: England

Lawes v France
England entered the 2022 Guinness Six Nations with high hopes of claiming the Championship crown after a disappointing fifth-place finish in 2021.

England entered the 2022 Guinness Six Nations with high hopes of claiming the Championship crown after a disappointing fifth-place finish in 2021.

Eddie Jones’ side had a flawless Autumn Nations Series as Tonga, Australia and world champions South Africa were all brushed aside at Twickenham.

But England were unable to claim their second Guinness Six Nations crown in three years, finishing third as France swept to a first Grand Slam in 12 years.


England’s Round 1 assignment was a trip to Edinburgh to face the Auld Enemy Scotland in the Calcutta Cup at BT Murrayfield.

Both sides knew a win would set them on their way perfectly and even though Jones labelled Scotland as favourites beforehand, most onlookers agreed there would not be much in it.

It was the hosts who prevailed 20-17 but their comeback was aided by the penalty try and yellow card awarded to Luke Cowan-Dickie after the Exeter Chiefs hooker was adjudged to have deliberately batted the ball forward into touch in the second half.

Scotland scrum-half Ben White had scored the first try on his debut after coming off the bench early on, as Ali Price went through a HIA.

And despite Marcus Smith scoring all of England’s 17 points, Gregor Townsend’s side ended the game with the Calcutta Cup for the fourth time in the last five years, backing up their first win at Twickenham in 38 years in 2021.

In Round 2, England travelled to Rome looking to get their first win of the Championship on the board and Jones’ men delivered. England won 33-0 with a try double for Jamie George and another 13 points for fly-half Smith powering the Red Rose to victory.

After the fallow week, England returned to face the defending champions Wales at Twickenham in a must-win clash.

They raced into a 17-0 lead and despite a late flourish from Wales, England held on to win 23-19 with Alex Dombrandt scoring his side’s sole try.

After the second rest week, England hosted Ireland and despite eventually slipping to a 32-15 defeat, the home side won plenty of plaudits.

Charlie Ewels’ red card less than two minutes in altered the shape of the game but England stood up in the face of adversity, Ellis Genge in particular was outstanding at prop.

Ireland led 15-9 at half-time as tries from James Lowe and Hugo Keenan gave Andy Farrell’s side the edge at the break.

However, England fought back to draw level with two Smith penalties before Ireland pulled away from their weary opponents with late scores from Jack Conan and Finlay Bealham.

That result ended England’s title aspirations going into Super Saturday but they still had the chance to ruin Les Bleus’ party at the Stade de France.

However, tries for Gael Fickou and Francois Cros gave France an 18-6 lead at half-time that they never looked like surrendering despite Freddie Steward’s try shortly after the break.

France won 25-13 and England finished third thanks to defeats for Wales at home to Italy and Scotland in Ireland.

It may have been an improvement of two places on their 2021 finish, but Jones’ side have now won only four games across the last two Championships.


Marcus Smith shone in his first Guinness Six Nations, finishing the 2022 Championship as the leading points scorer with 71.

Picked ahead of the more experienced George Ford, Smith pulled the strings expertly from No.10 even when things were not always going well around him.

Consistent off the tee, the Harlequins fly-half is set to be a regular fixture in the England squad for many years to come.


The sight of Jamie George and Ellis Genge passionately celebrating scrum penalties in the rearguard effort against Ireland will live long in the memory on the day Twickenham roared their 14-men on.

The result may not have gone their way in the end but it epitomised the Championship for Genge who is really flourishing as one of Jones’ vice-captains in the No.1 jersey.


He announced himself in the Autumn Nations Series with some towering displays at full-back and Freddie Steward was impressive again in his first Guinness Six Nations.

Even showing his versatility by putting in a sterling display on the right wing in Paris in Round 5, Steward is set to be an automatic starter in the white shirt for years to come.

A colossus under the high ball, Steward’s standing in the game continues to rise.


England will be desperate to bounce back from a disappointing Championship on the summer tour to Australia.

It could come at a good time for Eddie Jones who has never lost to his homeland since taking control at Twickenham after the 2015 Rugby World Cup and has come under pressure for a lack of Championship wins of late.


After that all attention will turn to the Autumn Nations Series which includes a fixture against the All Blacks with England playing New Zealand for the first time since that famous 2019 World Cup semi-final triumph in Japan.

Then the 2023 Guinness Six Nations will come hurtling into view and 20 years after England won the Grand Slam before winning the World Cup down under, Jones and Co will be aiming to pull off a similar feat with the World Cup in France looming.