Winger Jonny May on Sunday scored a hat-trick in the first 30 minutes as a scintillating England ripped through a sorry France for a 44-8 victory at Twickenham to put them top of the Six Nations table after two rounds.
After claiming an unexpected bonus point victory over Ireland last week, the extra point was in the bag by halftime as Eddie Jones’ team exposed France’s ragged defense again and again with a relentless deluge of kicks of every description.
The irrepressible May bagged the first three and Henry Slade the fourth as England forged a remarkable 30-8 halftime lead.
A penalty try and one for Owen Farrell put the game to bed early in the second half.
England top the standings with 10 points from two bonus-point wins, with Wales — who they face next in Cardiff — on eight after their two opening victories.
It was their second-highest margin of victory over France, a point shy of their 37-0 win in 1911.
“When you’ve got a bonus point after 30 minutes, you’ve done pretty well, but I thought our second-half performance was even better,” Jones said. “Our focus and discipline to keep France scoreless was outstanding.”
France, who beat England in Paris a year ago, have now lost 15 of their past 19 games and have managed only two championship victories at Twickenham in 30 years.
They had no answer to England’s relentless attacks, particularly their array of kicks that had them turning, retreating and tying themselves in knots from start to finish.
“At the moment we are having a great deal of success with our kicking and if you chase well it’s difficult to counter,” Jones said. “If teams defend as they do now, there’s space in the back field.”
“We got spanked,” said France lock Arthur Iturria, summing up another day to forget a week after his team blew a 16-0 halftime lead to lose at home to Wales
Coach Jacques Brunel could not say he did not know what was coming after England had used the kick and chase with such success in Dublin last week and he will have more questions to answer after picking a back three of players all operating out of their usual positions.
“England put us under pressure throughout the game and we just could not deal with it,” Brunel said, having failed to stem the tide with the second-half introduction of uncapped fullback Thomas Ramos. “They had an excellent kicking game and continually took advantage of the space.”
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