Le Crunch: Gulf in class there for all to see
SIX NATIONS ANALYSES: The days of England and France being on the same level in rugby are well and truly over.
The quality for French rugby on the international stage has been in free fall over the last few years and Sunday’s 8-44 defeat at Twickenham was evidence of this.
France were completely outplayed at Twickenham by a clinical English side, who look well on their way to winning this year’s Six Nations trophy.
England v France: Attacking stats
Eddie Jones’ side did the basics well and that was all that was needed against a poor and unimaginative French side.
England’s six tries [one was a Penalty Try] came from efficient use of possession and a smart kicking game, which took advantage of France’s inability to cover at the back.
Jonny May was the big beneficiary, scoring three tries in the match.
The stats will say France dominated possession in the end, but that was only because England slacked off in the second half after getting up to 44 points after 55 minutes on the clock.
England had over 60 percent of the possession in the first half and the game was effectively over at half-time with England leading 30-8.
Most of the ball the French did have resulted in nothing as Jacques Brunel’s players were unable to hang on to it long enough or they lacked ideas when they did breach the English defence with some of their 22 offloads.
England’s smart kicking game also led to territorial dominance throughout the match.
The home side had 71 percent territory in the first half and by the end of the match it was 61 percent.
Life was also made easier for England’s kickers as the positioning of France’s back three to field those kicks was atrocious.
France’s woes in territory and possession also stemmed from their players’ inability to secure position under the high ball and their forwards’ poor showing in the set pieces – an area French rugby prides itself on.
England v France: The rest of the stats
England’s defence was at the forefront once again with a whopping 172 tackles in the match. England may have missed 33 tackles, but they scrambled well, and France did themselves no favours with poor decision making and some butter fingers.
Tom Curry (19), Mark Wilson (18) and Courtney Lawes (15) led from the font with the tackle count, while Louis Picamoles was France’s leader in that facet.
France made more carries [144) and more running metres (810) during the 80 minutes, but they were just not clinical enough to make anything of it.
With a one-sided game like this, discipline was not much of a factor in the game. Although England was the better of the two teams conceding only four penalties to France’s six
It was a one-sided game and it was an embarrassment for French rugby.
By Warren Fortune