The English completed third, an enchancment on final yr’s fifth place however one unlikely to ease the strain on coach Eddie Jones after a second straight championship in which they misplaced three video games.
A spectacular, spine-tingling pre-match mild present noticed the Stade de France illuminated in crimson, white and blue, setting the stage for an enormous match in the progress of Galthie’s France.
They rose to the problem.
With exceptional ruck velocity and a feisty protection — orchestrated by an English coach, Shaun Edwards — that created 5 turnovers, France produced a powerful first-half show to put the platform for victory.
Fullback Melvyn Jaminet had already kicked a penalty by the point Romain Ntamack despatched a miss-pass over to the fitting wing the place Gael Fickou collected the ball and raced over in the nook for a Fifteenth-minute strive.
While discovering parity on the lineout, England was getting dominated on the scrum and its assault was restricted, resorting to getting most pleasure from excessive kicks fielded by Freddie Steward, a tall fullback being deployed as a winger.
A few penalties by Marcus Smith saved the English in contact however a transformed strive by Francois Cros off the final assault of the primary half opened up a 12-point hole — at 18-6 — that the guests by no means seemed like closing.
It was one other clinic in fast phases, marshalled by Dupont, that ended with Ntamack bursting via a spot to virtually attain the road earlier than Cros picked up and stretched out a hand via a mass of our bodies to floor.
England made the French work for the title, producing a barnstorming begin to the second half that culminated in Steward ending off a well-worked transfer in the fitting nook for what proved to be the workforce’s solely strive.
But Dupont ensured there could be no late nerves, operating onto Gregory Alldritt’s pop-up move and handing off England hooker Jamie George earlier than accelerating away from Ben Youngs to attain beside the posts.
Jaminet’s conversion took him to 10 factors for the match and France wouldn’t be stopped.
Meanwhile, wing Edoardo Padovani scored a late strive as Italy shocked their hosts Wales 22-21 to secure a primary ever win in Cardiff and end their 36-game losing streak in the Six Nations on Saturday.
A superb break from rookie fullback Ange Capuozzo arrange the rating for Padovani, and when flyhalf Paolo Garbisi kicked the conversion from in entrance of the posts on the ultimate whistle, Italy had secured their magic second that left some gamers in tears.
It was totally deserved, too. They bullied Wales on the breakdown and put in a stout defensive show, one thing that had been a weak spot in latest years, to secure one of many extra well-known wins in their rugby historical past and present their continued enchancment beneath coach Kieran Crowley.
“It’s just unreal. I couldn’t believe it, I want to stay with my family and teammates and celebrate with them because we deserve it and we worked so hard to get here,” Italy captain Michele Lamaro advised reporters.
“It’s the first step of our long process that we just started. Capuozzo is the superstar of our squad right now and that last try was amazing.
“I think just being in the moment until the end took us to the win.”
The strain will now be squarely on Wales coach Wayne Pivac, who has guided his facet to only a single win in 5 video games this season and must reply loads of questions in regards to the route of his workforce 18 months out from the subsequent World Cup.
Ireland coach Andy Farrell stated his facet have been solely getting began after securing no less than a second-placed end in the Six Nations, the perfect efficiency since he took over in 2019 with a laser deal with subsequent yr’s World Cup.
After successful three titles between 2014 and 2018, Ireland fell again to 3 successive third-placed finishes.
A extra encouraging end to final yr’s event was adopted up with a win over New Zealand in November and a Triple Crown clinched on Saturday with a 26-5 victory over Scotland.
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