England fell to a six point defeat in Paris meaning Ireland are this year’s Natwest Six Nations champions. England lost 22 -16 in Paris as once again their back-row was found lacking.
It was 9 – 9 at halftime with with the game opening up in the second half. A penalty try early in the second half sent France on their way to victory. It took England until the last ten minutes to apply any serious pressure to the French defence scoring a try with five minutes to go. England could have won the game in the last few minutes, but the clinical play they had last year was once again missing as a knock on was the final nail in England’s coffin.
England’s ill discipline was perhaps their greatest downfall. They gave away 15 penalties, the majority of those at the breakdown, continually giving possession back to the French. This poor run of form and a wake up call could be a blessing in disguise as it has highlighted weaknesses that need to be addressed ahead of the world cup in Japan next year.
Looking ahead to next week, England will have to put in a massive performance as Twickenham to prevent Ireland securing the Grand-slam. Having not lost at Twickenham since Eddie Jones took over, this will be a record they will be keen to maintain. If the men from the Emerald Isle can defeat them in London next weekend it will be only their third Grand-Slam, marking the strength and continued growth of Irish rugby.
It is very easy to be negative about the performance of this England side in this year’s Six Nations, but it is worth remembering that this is only the third game they have lost since the world cup in 2015.