Mon, Mar 12, 2018 - Page 10 News List

France win over UK hands Ireland title

Reuters, PARIS

France scrum-half Baptiste Couilloud runs with the ball during their Six Nations match against England on Saturday in Saint-Denis, France.

Photo: AFP

A revitalized France on Saturday beat an uninspired England 22-16 to claim a rare victory over their archrivals, whose defeat handed the Six Nations title to Ireland.

Les Bleus, who had lost nine of their past 11 meetings against England in the Championship, prevailed through penalties by Maxime Machenaud (4) and Lionel Beauxis and a penalty try, while their opponents scored two penalties and a conversion by Owen Farrell, a penalty by Elliot Daly and a try by Jonny May.

Ireland top the table with 19 points from four games after securing a 28-8 bonus-point victory over Scotland earlier on Saturday, meaning they cannot be caught by England when the two teams meet at Twickenham next weekend.

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 was England’s second defeat in a row after they lost to Scotland in the previous round of matches and only their third in 27 matches under coach Eddie Jones.

“Our defense was remarkable,” France coach Jacques Brunel told a news conference after his fourth game in charge. “We knew that the physical challenge would be key. We defended well and we always went forward.”

France were superior at the breakdown, an area where England also suffered when they lost to Scotland in their previous game.

“We needed to be good at the breakdown, and maybe they were not used to be bothered in that area,” Brunel said. “If they are free in that zone, it becomes complicated for their opponents.”

“The way we defended, I had never seen that,” said wing Remy Grosso, who was named man of the match. “It’s a very big moment, it’s a big emotion to beat England.”

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