On Saturday, we saw the England Rugby Union team start their defence of their Grand Slam in this year’s 6 Nations Competition. After finishing 2016 undefeated and facing a much improved French team at Twickenham in the first game, they were also looking to achieve a new record of 15 successive test victories.
England were off the pace from the start, and were very fortunate to go in at the break at 9-9, with both Farrell (2) and Daly (1) exchanging penalties with French man Lopez. The first half also saw England’s Jonny May spending time in the sin bin for a dangerous tackle. With the French pack dominating, and French scrum half Bastiste Serin enjoying a debut to remember, it looked like England would fail at the first hurdle.
The second half saw the French continue to pressure England and, although the home team took the lead through another Farrell penalty, it was with a spell of French flair and some excellent handling by the forwards, that substitute prop forward Slimani managed to crash over under the post for the game’s first try, which Lopez easily converted to give the French a 12-16 lead.
At this time, the England coach had to bring on fresh legs and introduce James Haskell, Ben Te’o and Jack Newell to the field. All three had a part in England’s reply, as they started to muscle up to the French and, excellent runs from Haskell and Newell saw Farrell send ex Australian NRL player Ben Te’o over for his first 6 Nations try, which Farrell also converted to make the final score 19-16 to England.
England: Brown; May, Joseph, Farrell, Daly; Ford, Youngs; Marler, Hartley, Cole, Launchbury, Lawes, Itoje, Wood, Hughes.
Replacements: Te'o for Ford (69), Care for Youngs (66), Mullan for Marler (66), George for Hartley (55), Haskell for Launchbury (64), Nowell for Joseph (69)
Not Used: Sinckler, Harrison
Sin Bin: May (13).
France: Spedding; Nakaitaci, Lamerat, Fickou, Vakatawa; Lopez, Serin; Baille, Guirado, Atonio, Vahaamahina, Maestri, Chouly, Gourdon, Picamoles.
Replacements: Huget for Lamerat (72), Doussain for Lopez (72), Machenaud for Serin (57), Slimani for Baille (46), Maynadier for Guirado (72), Chiocci for Atonio (46), Iturria for Vahaamahina (72), Goujon for Chouly (64).