Match Report

France edge out England in Paris thriller

Maxime Machenaud 10/3/2018
France inflicted a second straight defeat on England in Paris as Les Bleus handed Ireland the NatWest 6 Nations crown.

France inflicted a second straight defeat on England in Paris as Les Bleus handed Ireland the NatWest 6 Nations crown.

Owen Farrell and Maxime Machenaud traded first-half penalties before a second half penalty try means the Red Rose lose their grip on the Championship crown.

Jonny May found a consolation try with seven minutes to spare after good work from Elliot Daly but it was not enough to deny France the victory and Ireland the Championship.

This was a huge victory for new coach Jacques Brunel as France made it back-to-back triumphs in the NatWest 6 Nations.

After watching Ireland put four tires past Scotland in Dublin, the Red Rose knew they’d need a bonus-point victory to keep tabs with Joe Schmidt’s side ahead of their clash against Ireland at Twickenham next week.

But Eddie Jones’ men struggled to assert their attacking style on the game as the boot of Farrell opened the scoring after England won a penalty from their own scrum.

England continued to put points on the board and this time is was Daly who sensationally sent the ball through the posts from inside his own half.

The visitors continued to run at Les Bleus but couldn’t penetrate the blue line as Machenaud halved the deficit with a kick from 44 metres.

It was turning into a penalty fest in Paris as Farrell added to his points tally before two more penalties from Machenaud meant the sides went in level at the break at 9-9.

Scotland’s ferocity at the breakdown was a key reason behind their success over England and Eddie Jones’ men were struggling once more in Paris, conceding a host of penalties in the opening 40 minutes.

France, who came into the match off the back of three straight defeats at the Stade de France, also failed to assert their dominance in a tight first half.

England hadn’t lost two away games in a NatWest 6 Nations campaign since 2009 but that looked like coming to an end as France notched up the decisive try of the contest.

A fantastic Francois Trinh-Duc cross-field kick fell into the path of Benjamin Fall who was stopped before the line by Anthony Watson but referee Jaco Peyper opted to away a penalty try to the hosts.

France sensed a second try and with a man advantage on the left wing, went within inches of notching a second try.

Guilhem Guirado found Gael Fickou before Machenaud scrambled to the line but the England defence held firm to stop the charge.

England couldn’t find any rhythm in their play and France pushed their advantage out to ten with another accurate kick from Machenaud.

Mathieu Bastareaud continued his scintillating tournament as France dominated the breakdown, leaving England isolated.

Time was running out on England but they finally got their first try on the board with seven minutes to play.

The Red Rose went through seven phases before the Farrell found Daly who beautifully squares it to May inside to crash over.

There was still time for France to add more points to the scoreboard as Lionel Beauxis expertly converted a penalty.

A converted try would have sealed it for England but France held strong just metres from the try line as the Red Rose surrendered their two-year dominance of the NatWest 6 Nations.