Former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio believes the Round 4 thriller between England and France at Twickenham will have helped people fall back in love with rugby.
France headed to Twickenham looking for a victory to keep their Grand Slam hopes on track but Maro Itoje’s late try saw England claim a narrow 23-20 win.
However, that barely tells the story of a breathless, enthralling encounter that began with Antoine Dupont scoring a gorgeous try inside two minutes and saw both sides mesmerise with expansive, attacking, running rugby.
Anthony Watson crossed for England before Damian Penaud scored one of the most brilliant tries of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations as Les Blues led 17-13 at the break but the hosts fought back to snatch a win that leaves France still searching for a first Championship victory at Twickenham since 2005.
And while serving as a pundit on ITV’s coverage of the game, Dallaglio hailed it as a classic Guinness Six Nations contest.
“For those who may have fallen out of love with rugby, that’s the sort of game that makes you fall back in love with it,” he said
“It was just superb, it was sublime at times. The attacking intent of both sides, the decisions of when to pass and not to pass.
“There was obviously some sort of kicking amnesty going on – no kicking, let’s just both not kick!
“It really brought out the best in both. Credit to England, their discipline was superb and they found a way of winning.”
Former England coach Sir Clive Woodward was also acting as a pundit alongside Dallaglio on ITV’s coverage and believes that referee Andrew Brace – as well as both teams – deserve credit for producing such a scintillating game of rugby.
“The referee had a great game but well done to both teams – there wasn’t a high tackle, there wasn’t a yellow card, everything was coached really well and we had a great game of rugby,” he said.
“When the penalty count is so low, you get that sort of game – when both sides play so quickly, it’s a fantastic spectacle.
“And Andrew Brace needs a big pat on the back because he refereed the game superbly.”