Medicine

Rare win against England boosts French morale and hopes

Rare win against England boosts French morale and hopes

England put in a second successive poor performance in a 22-16 defeat to France on Saturday that handed Ireland a third Six Nations title in five years.

It's official. Ireland are Six Nations champions.

Ireland have previously denied England a Grand Slam and Woodward has urged the hosts to return the favour in next Saturday's highly-anticipated fixture at Twickenham.

Scotland showed glimpses of the form that saw them beat England in the previous round of matches, with Blair Kinghorn's try keeping them just about in the hunt, but a lack of accuracy at crucial moments proved costly.

France, who narrowly lost their first two matches against Ireland and Scotland, defended furiously throughout and it became obvious that England, who needed a bonus-point win to keep their title hopes alive, would not score the four tries they needed.

"It's taken a lot of hard work to get to this point".

Maxime Machenaud duly added his fourth penalty and Jonny May's try came too late in the piece for England, with Ireland now holding an unassailable lead in the table.

Armand and Haskell, as well as Kyle Sinckler, likewise fit the mould and may come into the side against Ireland after catching the eye off the bench in Paris. Any team that is developing, as we are, you go through these tough periods where the game does not love you. "We are always going to go through this at some stage".

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"Credit to the management team to have prepared us so well for each match with so many players missing", said Sexton.

England struggled at the breakdown but Daly landed a 53-metre penalty to double their advantage midway through the first half. And in that position and several others, you look for English candidates - within the Premiership, of course, as anyone such as Steffon Armitage overseas is banned - and find them crashed out on treatment tables.

The New Zealander noted: "There are plenty of knocks but no injuries, one of the good things is we made a few tactical subs but none of them were really injury induced".

"England today, because they are trying to play so much shape with the out-the-back passes, there isn't a lot of physicality to how they are playing".

"I think Rory [Best] is desperate for Grand Slam because he feels he would be a bigger part of it now than he played back then". "At times we did hit some good holes and we got some good momentum and I thought we looked good, particularly at the end of the game". "It comes from pressure but unfortunately we weren't able to build that consistently". "I can't blame the Premiership", Jones said. It's a very odd feeling to win the Championship with a game to go, and so much still to play for.

"I don't think we should get too carried away or too melodramatic about where we are", he said. "I'm sure they will be licking their lips".

"We did not learn quick enough", said Jones, whose side conceded 16 penalties and coughed up 12 turnovers.


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