Marcha 23, 2018

France beat England 22-16 in Six Nations

12 Marcha 2018, 06:56 | Gerardo Tarin

Members of the squad lined up and charged into tackle bags as they prepare for England

Members of the squad lined up and charged into tackle bags as they prepare for England

England surrendered the crown they have held for the past two years with a second successive defeat, a fortnight after falling to Scotland.

The way the results have fallen in this penultimate round, even if there hadn't been bonus points, the title would have already been decided as Ireland would sit on eight points with England on four.

The French attack was not particularly incisive, and to England's credit they only let them through for one try, a penalty try from a crossfield fumbled by Jonny May, followed by a Anthony Watson high tackle. England are still faltering, looking for the sure footing they had before they tripped in that match.

Jones acknowledged that England, ranked second in the world, are still a team in development.

France won the battle of the breakdown with indiscipline also hampering England as they fell to a 22-16 defeat at the Stade de France.

Two tries by Jacob Stockdale set up Ireland's dominant 28-8 victory over Scotland yesterday which a few hours later proved to be enough for them to clinch the Six Nations title. It is one of the reasons he is still in this business 25 years after he first took charge of Randwick, back in Sydney grade rugby.

If the score was reminiscent of the 34-7 loss in Cardiff which began Scotland's Six Nations campaign, Laidlaw believed that yesterday's display, while painfully flawed, was a cut above that performance. But you get nothing at the start of the game next week at Twickenham, you have to start all over again and win it and these players will try to do that.

A tight opening half was a nervy affair littered with infringements, be they by France at the scrum or England at the breakdown.

But take players of the quality of Paul O'Connell, Johnny Sexton, Sean O'Brien, Jared Payne and Peter O'Mahony out of any team and they will be rocked.

"I don't think we should get too carried away or too melodramatic about where we are", he said. "We defended well and we always went forward".

This is how bad Ireland used to be.

"We've a lot of big leaders", Best said. When you think of an Irish team doing that in South Africa, they've developed great depth. They have been running in a rut of uncertain form for a while now and it has led to back-to-back defeats.

Scotland skipper John Barclay agreed with Ireland coach Joe Schmidt's assessment that Scotland were hard done by with the 20-point gap.

"After injuries cost us so dearly at the 2015 World Cup, Joe decided that we needed three for every position and you have to say he is getting there in achieving that".

Ireland will seek to complete a Grand Slam at Twickenham next weekend, but a wounded England will not be short of motivation having been denied a clean sweep of their own in Dublin in similar circumstances 12 months ago. England lies last in the tournament in ruck success rate.

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