Six Nations: England thrash France
By Chris Perrin
England confirmed themselves as serious contenders for the Six Nations title with an emphatic 44-8 win over France at Twickenham.
In near-identical fashion to their opener against Ireland, England made the best start possible. Once again it was Jonny May who capped off an electric move, chasing down Elliot Daly’s grubber kick and putting five England points on the scoreboard after just one minute.
The sight of Jonny May jumping in celebration was to become all too familiar for the French. On 23 minutes, May was found by captain Owen Farrell’s long, looping pass. His shimmy wrong-footed Damian Penaud, paving the way for his and England’s second try. Six minutes later England cut through France’s defence once more with a well-executed grubber, this time courtesy of Chris Ashton. May was the recipient of the pass, and got his hat-trick inside thirty minutes.
A glimmer of hope was given to France in the 34th minute. Yoann Huget carried strongly, shrugging off a number of English challenges before passing to Penaud who rounded off the attack. However, this was the only bright moment on a bleak day for France. Their first try turned out to be their last. When Henry Slade scored in the 39th minute to give England a 22-point lead at the break, the game was all but over.
The home team scored two more tries in the second half, and cruised to their second Six Nations win in as many games.
The win takes England to the top of the Six Nations standings with three matches to play. A crucial showdown in Cardiff awaits Eddie Jones’ side next, with Wales being the only other team to have won both of their first two fixtures. Beat Wales, and England would be in a prime position to win the grand slam.