Monday, March 12, 2012

England defeat France in Paris in Six Nations classic

England beat France away from home for the first time since 2008 as they came away 24-22 winners in a classic Six Nations encounter in Paris on Sunday afternoon. A last minute dropgoal attempt from Francois Trinh-Duc fell short for the hosts.

In one of the more entertaining Six Nations games we've seen in recent times, Le Crunch turned out to be a classic battle that went right down to the wire as France fought back after England took an early lead. Two quickfire tries, first a great effort from Manu Tuilagi, then a Ben Foden try set up by Ben Morgan, gave England a 14-3 lead in the first half.

France chipped away and the second half was a far tighter affair. A fantastic try from Tom Croft then appeared to seal the deal for the English, but thanks to Julien Dupuy, Lionel Beauxis, and Morgan Parra, who all contributed points from the tee, and a Wesley Fofana try with 6 minutes left, we saw a thrilling finale to the game.

If Trinh-Duc's dropgoal attempt had just a meter more on it, it would have been the French celebrating, but instead England took a famous win in Paris, and still have a mathematical chance of winning the Six Nations.

"It's hard to come back against the English after such a bad start. We clawed back into contention thanks to our pride," said brilliant French number eight, Imanol Harinordoquy.

"The two turnovers did for us. Once again we came back into it and we didn't miss out by much. It's hard to beat the English once they get ahead," he added.

Posted by Rugbydump at 10:52 am | View Comments (49)

Viewing 49 comments

Gav March 12, 2012 3:33 pm

Love the way the video ref calls Alain Rolland "Rollers"

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stroudos March 13, 2012 4:49 pm

Classic. He also sounds gutted about it, like "Go on then, if you have to, you shit".

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moddeur March 12, 2012 3:42 pm

Watching the match on the Beeb: "Oh [sipping tea], I'll say, that was a somewhat spectacular try, wasn't it Jeeves? [sluuurp]"

Great match: England consistent throughout, France up and down. That's "experience" for you. France was expected to emerge on top, with 600+ caps to England's 190 caps, but all that this exposed was that France, since 2010, has been a team of old hay-cutting vehicles, incapable of running as fast as their Ferrari opponents.

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Oliver March 13, 2012 7:13 pm

je ris encore de la comparaison BBC/F2 !!

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Matt March 12, 2012 3:45 pm

First try : Stupid kick, stupid offload attempt, and the players are not re-positioning, England scores.
Second try : Stupid kick, unbelievable miss tackles, England scores again.
Third try : The defense slides well, but i don't know why (if someone can explain me...?) Rougerie stupidly carries one sliding, whereas he had no need to do so, England scores again and again.

England had a good defense that's a fact, but don't say that they scored three times because of their offensive talent, they scored just because France gave them the tries.

Conclusion, even if France had a great come back, England deserves the game, but as a French I am so sorry to see my team giving points like this. Was almost the same against Ireland. This team has a potential, but still not ready...

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thbts March 12, 2012 4:04 pm

Absolutely agree with you ! We were too generous in defense for winning.

On the third try i still don't understand why Rougerie slides...

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Guy March 12, 2012 5:13 pm

Sorry, don't agree with you on this one. A big part of good offense is recognizing the weaknesses in your opponents defense. Otherwise only the team with the biggest players would score because they would be the only ones to get over the gainline and towards the tryline.

So, I do agree that England exploited the holes in the French defense. But I do think credit also goes to the England offense for finding the gaps.

In my own opinion off course

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mattyP March 12, 2012 6:33 pm

Watch the French fullback during the first try. Jogs across at half speed - doesn't want a bar of having to tackle Tuilagi.

The second try - I will show to the high school boys I coach tonight why tackling low is effective and high ball and all tackles are ineffective generally.

The third try was an horrible defensive lapse for an international side.

All in all, great to see England chancing their arm and using width, but the French defensive lapses were pretty glaring contributors.

Being Australian, much as I hate to see England win, I was glad to see Tranieducks's drop goal miss. They were deserving winners, with the game being decided on tries as it should be.

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Matt March 12, 2012 5:51 pm

there is no team movement aiming at opening gaps in the English offense(at least for the tries...).
French are simply opening the Gaps themselves.

Even on the last try, that is the only one with more than 2 passes, the french defense slides well to be in position, but rougerie did a beginner mistake...

I'm not saying that England is bad (they have even been better than france on this game :p), BUT in offense, they didn't show anything more than the French team. "Les bleus" just helped them...
And again the English defense was impressive!!!!!

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Dominic March 13, 2012 10:36 am

Couldn't agree more! The contrast bewteen Poitrenaud's attitude with Ashton's run in and tackle on Szarzewski a few moments before is shockign! Very soft try....

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Udi March 12, 2012 3:49 pm

I thought the ref did a pretty bad job throughout the match. Really tried and steal the spotlight

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Matthew March 12, 2012 4:09 pm

Cracking game, balanced on a knife edge in the end.

The video is lacking Tom Croft's stamp on Dowson just before the French try - ouch! (Perhaps a post with a video of that incident is required, Rugbydump...?)

And I'm really pleased Croft beat the French fullback and scored, not least of all because he should've guaranteed the try by passing to Foden on his right!

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Matthew March 12, 2012 4:10 pm

Oh, also needs a clip of Brian Moore's comment about Rolland's linguistic skills - 'It doesn't matter to me that referee Alain Rolland can speak French. It just means he gets it wrong in two languages.'

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English Neil March 12, 2012 4:19 pm

^^^^^^ ha ha! I didn't catch that! Thank God for the commentary in Rugby, so much more interesting than most other sports!

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Colombes March 12, 2012 4:19 pm

firstly, congrats to england!

englishs showed that they could play another style of rugby than charging kicks or rolling mauls. when you give good balls to guys like tuilagi and foden, u can create danger, as simply as that. furthermore, farrell seems to find his marks at 10 and played with a lot of experience for his age.
and a big applause to the english defence who saved 2 or 3 tries by great tackles.
a bemol? when you look at the 3 tries. They all come from an individual effort than a real team movement. and i also have to mention that frenchies were completly absent on each of these tries (missed tackles, bad kicks, debutant mistakes).
Despite of these 3 tries i haven't seen a lot from england, to describe this match as a "classic"....

On France, there is a lot to say.
The most curious thing is this lethargy during the first 20 minutes vs scotland, ireland and, now, england, as if players were in slow-motion. The reason? lack of fitness (4 matchs in a row, top14?) or lack of ambition/ideas. Like england, the team try to find automatisms. St andré tried a "kicking-game" strategy with beauxis-dupuy and it didn't work. St andré had the honesty to say "he screwed up on certain poistions". as soon as trinh-duc and parra were back the pressure was reversed and england didn't see the ball till the end of the match.
i don't blame trinh-duc for his shit drop-goal, the 20 "christmas-time" minutes were fatals. what if france experience a strong start vs Wales? ;)

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Jimothy March 13, 2012 8:13 pm

You say individual tries however the first one alone proves this comment to be incorrect. If you look at the players involved 1) Ashton makes the tackle 2)Farrell picks up the ball off loads in the tackle to Dickinson 3) Dickinson pass to Manu who showed more pace than I thought he had. I would say that was team involvement! The other two I agree with you partially but the ball has to be won before you can score tries and that requires the team.

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Matt March 14, 2012 8:36 am

haha, yeah and the others fourteen players were standing on the field so it is a team try !!!! thank you to point out that!!!

Man ashton's tackle is just a basic good one, but swarzevski should just have kept the ball !!!! Then the gap was already wide opened, so yeah off course, to bring the ball on the side of the field u have to do 1 or 2 passes, and probably 3 players must run also, but this doesnt mean that it was a team try!!

Haha really funny!

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Jimothy March 15, 2012 1:03 pm

Yes because in a rugby match you often see the 14 other players standing still whilst one player runs in a try!!!!!!!!!!!

Next time watch the game closely and count how many players are just 'standing' on the field when the try is scored. That is not including those getting up off the ground or who have been in a previous phase of play or running to support. The try involved 4 players so almost a third of the team.

Can you explain how to score a team try? Is it only a team try when every player on the field has touched the ball in a passage of play? Was Ashtons try against Australia a team try or individual brilliance by Youngsm Lawes and then Ashton for example? The ball was only touched by 3 players on the way to the tryline but what about the turnover tackle including other players?

I'm just curious to know how you define a 'team' try?

Tommy Bowes awesome try against France was one of individual brilliance but the rest of the team had to get the ball to him first!

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Oliver March 12, 2012 4:35 pm

I was standing up for the last 5 minutes of this! Intense game. Congrats to the "Rosbeef". But I would have loved for TrinDuc to give them a taste of their own medecine and score that drop-goal, Wilkinson style!

Now 3 things:
- I don't want to single out one player, but I really think Rougerie is not cutting it anymore. Bring back Bastareaud! He could be a sweet combo with Fofana.
- why give a penalty for a failed intercept/knock-on, and then a yellow card for the exact same thing? And Tommy Bowe got neither last week.....
- I thought changing our scrumhalf and flyhalf at this point of the tournament was a mistake.....and I still do.

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stroudos March 13, 2012 4:55 pm

"Bring back Bastareaud! He could be a sweet combo with Fofana."

That sounds dangerous! And totally agree, Rougerie's having a period of awful form - and attitude. Bastareaud, meanwhile, looks like he's having a bit of a resurgence at Toulon.

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Oliver March 13, 2012 7:18 pm

well apparently saint-andre doesn't listen to me! ;-)
Mermoz, Malzieu and Dupuy are out against wales.......but not Rougerie.

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Pretzel March 14, 2012 12:25 pm

I'd pick Parra over Dupuy anyway.. As for Rougerie, he is brilliant when he is on form... So maybe by some miracle he has suddenly got "on form". lol

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mbdefon March 12, 2012 5:16 pm

Lionel Nallet, Julien Dupuy, Maxime Mermoz and Julien Malzieu are out against Wales.

Brilliant Jean-Marcellin Buttin and Florian Fritz are playing against wales . Also Julien Pierre, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Dimitri Yachvili, Alexis Palisson are taking over. Huge changes in the group..

Can't wait for France v Wales.

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stroudos March 13, 2012 10:34 am

Really? Is Lievremont back?

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All Black Domination March 12, 2012 6:10 pm

Well done England !! England playing well is good for Rugby. Been following the 6 nations has been some really good games hard fought test match. But you will only know how good England is when they face them Big Saffa Bastards and beat them on their own soil then we will pass judgement on Owen Farrell and big Manu.

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Pretzel March 12, 2012 10:41 pm

I thought England did a BRILLIANT job of letting the French right back in the game through ill discipline. Apart from Fofana's try and the conversion, ALL of the points were from the boot, through a HUGE amount of ill discipline.

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Punisher March 12, 2012 10:58 pm

Please tell me someone else agrees that the commentators are so biased to the point they're practically cheering on their mics? It literally makes me wince when I hear such one-sided comments.
Also on the replay for Tuilagi's try, did he say it was ashton with the tackle?

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Rich_W March 12, 2012 11:31 pm

Erm... You realise Eddie Butler is Welsh right. And Brian Moore is pretty fair I think. Care to point out the one-sided comments in this clip?

And yeah it was Ashton who tackled Rougerie, great hands from Farrell with the pickup swivel and offload too.

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stroudos March 13, 2012 10:43 am

Couldn't disagree more Punisher. Butler, when he's calling a Wales game, is way too partisan, but on England games not at all. Brian Moore is by a very, very wide margin THE most neutral commentator. Show me a Kiwi commentator who calls for penalties against his own team, which Moore does frequently. When Ashton gave away that penalty, Moore's straight in saying it was "brainless", (whereas my first reaction was damn right have a pop at Rougerie, he's a bit late and grabbing Foden's bollocks).

Here's a classic Brian Moore moment from a few years ago, where he got so abusive AGAINST England the director cut his microphone just before his comment got broadcast. I'd love to know what he said, but you get the general idea from Eddie Butler's reaction:

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Pretzel March 13, 2012 2:51 pm

I'm with Stroudos and Rich on this one, I always find that Moore is the most critical of his own countrymen than he is of other teams. He has passion for England and would like them to win, but I get the impression he'd rather see them play a brilliant game of rugby and lose, over a weak performance and win.

Again, I didn't think there was much penalty worthy when Ashton gave the penalty away, but again it was pointless and there was no need to do it.

I think Moore said the same thing about a later incident, he said he didn't really think it was penalty worthy, but it was stupid and there was no need to do it, so England deserved the penalty against them.. (Something I recall him saying, but I cannot be sure what happened and why)

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dave March 13, 2012 12:17 am

come on, french fans can say that england wasn't deserving,that they lost the match and the english didn't win it, but reality is you aren't a better team because you looked more dominant at times, you are a better team if you win games, who cares about all this look good, but still lose the match nonsense

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Matt March 13, 2012 9:05 am

Man, read the comments again, nobody said this!!!England deserves the game.
It is just infuriating and a big pain in the ass for us to see our team giving points like this.

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stroudos March 13, 2012 10:45 am

Fuck's sake Dave. Every single comment from French people on here goes out of its way to congratulate England on a good win first and foremost. They've all been very measured in pointing out that there were French mistakes that helped England. Nothing wrong with that, especially considering they're absolutely accurate.

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Colombes March 13, 2012 3:48 pm

put your glasses. who say france played better?
england took their 3 chances of score in good
france had a very rusty start before coming back well
the morale, france gave the points, yes, but the most clinical always deserve to win

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Frenchie March 13, 2012 4:35 am

Well done England, they are the deserved winners. I like that team, Lancaster does a very good job and i think he should stay.
24-22 is flattering for the French and does not reflects the fact that they had a shocker. Second half was much better, our forwards did a good job in the scrum but again our back line played poorly. They gave 2 easy tries in 1st half, England have been clinical exploiting mistakes, as usual.

I don't understand why we change our game plan vs England. It pissed me off watching Beauxis kicking every ball, often directly in the hands of English players. I don't think Beauxis has the talent of Trinh-duc.
This French team doesn't make the good decisions. At 10 meters from the English try line we should have kept the ball in hands and insist. Drop goal came way too early.

I haven't read anything on the team that will play Wales but i think some of the players should be changed. Wales could trash us.

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MisterDavid March 13, 2012 11:26 am

Good match, slightly spoiled by Rolland (and not just for the sin-binning).

The contrast for me is this: we know this French team (esp. the pack) can be extraordinary, but never seem to be bothered; whilst this England team are not at that level, but are busting a gut to improve. That's why the Wales defeat was so encouraging for us England fans.

It will be interesting to see, in a year or two, if the core of this England team is still together - you would expect decent strides to have been made. In particular, the front row, plus Morgan, Farrell & Tuilagi - all those could be improving for the best part of a decade to come.

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Pretzel March 13, 2012 3:01 pm

I'm neither a French fan nor an English fan but I have to agree that sin binning was ridiculous. I have no idea how he could deem what Fofana did as "penalty worthy" but then give a card to the English player for doing more or less the same thing.

I mean either Fofana went for the interception and dropped it, therefore it is a scrum, or he tried to knock it out the air, therefore it is a penalty... (and the last time I checked it is normally a yellow card as well??)
Therefore the England 11 either went for the interception and dropped it, or knocked it down deliberately... so it is the same punishment surely!?!?

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Pretzel March 13, 2012 3:01 pm

I'm neither a French fan nor an English fan but I have to agree that sin binning was ridiculous. I have no idea how he could deem what Fofana did as "penalty worthy" but then give a card to the English player for doing more or less the same thing.

I mean either Fofana went for the interception and dropped it, therefore it is a scrum, or he tried to knock it out the air, therefore it is a penalty... (and the last time I checked it is normally a yellow card as well??)
Therefore the England 11 either went for the interception and dropped it, or knocked it down deliberately... so it is the same punishment surely!?!?

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Oliver March 13, 2012 3:45 pm

I brought that up earlier, definitely inconsistant.

And again: Irishman Tommy Bowe on his second intercept attempt last week got neither a penalty nor a yellow card. Referee just gave us a scrum.

Obviously something has to be done here.

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Pretzel March 14, 2012 1:08 am

Ah sorry, I didn't see that before, but definitely ridiculous if you ask me! How the referees can expect players to understand is ridiculous...

The old saying "play to the referee" goes right out the window when the same referee gives two different out comes to the same infringement in the same game!!!

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stroudos March 13, 2012 5:00 pm

I think refs generally tend to be too harsh on the "deliberate" knock-on thing. I'm sure 8 times out of 10 the player is genuinely trying to make an interception - players could help themselves by putting two hands out so it looks much more like a catch attempt.

Yellow cards usually only get shown when the knock-on prevents a clear try-scoring opportunity and I think that's the way it should be. The Sharples incident was on the halfway line, so even though France had a couple of players overlap I really don't think it qualifies as a try-scoring opportunity.

If this had happened on the 5m line, fine, yellow card him, but it's wildly over-the-top in this instance.

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Pretzel March 13, 2012 5:33 pm

Thanks for clearing things up regarding yellow cards Stroudos. A question though, is it an offence to knock it BACK or DOWN deliberately... Obviously an accidental knock on is a scrum, a deliberate knock on is a penalty... but I'm sure one of the incidents in one of the weekend games (not sure if it was this one) it appeared as though the player was trying to knock it BACK..(in fact I think it may have been Fofana).. So to clear things up, if you get in between to players passing it, is your only option to catch the ball, or can you bash it back to your teams side...?

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stroudos March 14, 2012 10:40 am

If you knock it backwards there is no offence, is there.

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Pretzel March 14, 2012 12:28 pm

I don't know, that's why I am asking. I know if you knock it backwards if it passed to you then there is no offence, but if you deliberately knock the ball out of the air and it goes backwards then it seems a bit...wrong?!?

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Pretzel March 14, 2012 12:29 pm

I meant deliberately knock the ball out of the air when the opposition is passing it...

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stroudos March 14, 2012 12:45 pm

The "is there" on the end of my comment isn't meant as a question. If the ball goes backwards, it is not a knock-on.

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kadova March 17, 2012 9:21 pm

Another Frenchie here. I was at the stadium and we went hysterical during the last minutes of the match, lol !
I also agree England deserved to win the match because of the french mistakes.
Francois Trinh-Duc said about his missed drop-goal the ball was deflated and he could hear from the sound of the kick it was not going to go over. That's said, it didn't sound like an excuse, rather like an explanation.

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kadova March 17, 2012 9:43 pm

A question now: who said about Morgan Parra after he kicked the conversion for Wesley Fofana try "This is the most elegant left foot" ?

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