Friday, 22 February, 2019

Guirado: France blown away by England in first half

Mathieu Bastareaud is brought back in to add power to the France midfield Mathieu Bastareaud is brought back in to add power to the France midfield
Frederick Owens | 13 February, 2019, 12:39

Winger Jonny May scored a hat-trick in the first 30 minutes as a scintillating England ripped through a sorry France for a 44-8 victory at Twickenham on Sunday to put them top of the Six Nations table after two rounds.

The tournament's only unbeaten teams clash in a fortnight with Jones recalling the claim made by Gatland while England were reeling from a five-Test losing run that Wales and their old foes are "poles apart".

"We're playing the greatest Welsh side ever, so we'll have to be at our absolute best", Jones said.

Ultimately, you want to win every game but England have come through injury crises, adversity and a period of very poor results and they look like they've come out the other side having learned from their mistakes and become a better team.

"It's awesome to play for England at the moment but I am not the type of guy to get ahead of myself and neither are the team".

But first Eddie Jones' side had to see out the second half against France.

France, who beat England in Paris a year ago, have now lost 15 of their last 19 games and have managed only two championship victories at Twickenham in 30 years.

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They have a mix of attacking left and right foot kickers with Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell, Henry Slade and Elliot Daly while Jonny May is a huge threat on the wing with his speed and deft kick and chase game.

By then, Ashton had bombed a try by dropping a lob pass from Manu Tuilagi, but earned a penalty try when he was tackled off the ball from behind by counterpart Gael Fickou. Even though we didn't score as many points, our focus and our discipline to keep France scoreless was outstanding.

But England had a bonus point try on the stroke of half-time. I think we don't work on it enough, even not at all, ' Parra said.

But Gatland also knows the size of Wales' task when they meet a team undefeated against them in Six Nations combat since 2013.

'If this was a normal year, on reflection, maybe we wouldn't have made so many changes, but we wanted to give everyone in the 31 an opportunity to be involved in the first two games'.

He appears to be knocking hard on the door to replace Morgan Parra as France's No.9 - how much longer can Jacques Brunel ignore him?

It did not take for long for England to break the deadlock however, Breach touching down in the 11th minute after collecting a pinpoint cross-field kick from fly-half Katy Daley-Mclean, whose conversion made her the first English woman to pass the landmark of 500 worldwide points.

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