England’s hopes of making history by becoming the first team ever to win the Six Nations three times in a row were well and truly shattered on Saturday evening as they were beaten 22-16 by France in Paris.
Eddie Jones’ men, due to Ireland’s bonus point win over Scotland earlier in Dublin, went into the match knowing that in order to keep their title dreams alive they needed to score four tries and win the game.
France have been relatively poor of late, but they, like most international rugby teams are, were well up for putting one over on England. They played like men possessed and gave England no quarter. No doubt we’ll see the French of old next weekend when they take on Wales at the Principality Stadium.
England, like they did against Scotland, struggled at the breakdown against a monstrous French pack, and when you lose the breakdown in international rugby, you usually lose the match.
The visitors had a chance to nick a win at the end, but another handling error let them down and the chance went a-begging. If we’re being perfectly honest though, a win at the death would only have papered over some very large cracks that are suddenly appearing.
Next up for England is a home match against Ireland, and they will be desperate to finish on a high and deny Ireland the Grand Slam. However, lose at the breakdown again, and it could be a very long afternoon for England and their fans.
Here are how the players rated after the game.