France dominate dismal England 10-53 in Six Nations whitewash

France won at Twickenham in the Six Nations for the first time since 2005

It was a difficult day at Twickenham in the Guinness Six Nations as France ran riot against England, picking up a record 10-53 victory at the home of English rugby and leaving Steve Borthwick plenty of questions to ask ahead of Ireland next weekend in Dublin.

For Fabien Galthie’s side, it is a first win at the home of English rugby in the Guinness Six Nations since 2005, the coach’s team nothing short of ruthless as the likes of Thomas Ramos, Charles Ollivon, Thibaud Flament and Damien Penaud starred.

France were very much in the ascendancy from the off. There was a surge from England early on, although an initially promising burst from Freddie Steward was turned over as the full-back received minimal support.

It was not long until the visitors had their first score of the half. It came for Thomas Ramos, the Stade Toulousain the beneficiary of Thibaud Flament and Charles Ollivon’s combination in the midfield, while Ethan Dumortier provided the final pass to his full-back to race over.

After converting his own try, Ramos would be adding a penalty to complete the collection as England’s indifferent start in front of home fans saw them infringe at the breakdown.

Throughout, Borthwick’s team often misfiring as they attempted to get on the scoreboard. A Jack van Poortvliet box-kick was scuffed and went nowhere, a line-out move came to a sudden stop as Jack Willis knocked on, the intentions good, the execution errant.

To put their hosts on the backfoot further, France would score a try of which Antoine Dupont was the architect. Getting a 50:22 with what seemed like a lazy swing of his less-dominant left foot, Galthie’s captain put his team in prime position some 10 meters out.

Francois Cros would peel off from the front, but after a strong carry from Cyril Baille, it would be former Wasp, Thibaud Flament who drove across the whitewash.

Marcus Smith would get his team on the scoreboard shortly thereafter, the fly-half knocking over a penalty from range as France made a rare error. But for that positive move, from the resulting kick-off, Alex Dombrandt would hold-on from the kick-off and allowing Ramos another opportunity from the tee.

One-way traffic would continue as Charles Ollivon bagged his first of the evening as Baille made Kyle Sinckler’s life hell at the scrum, Gregory Alldritt’s strong carry from the base and offload to the flanker seeing the side over for another converted score on the stroke of half-time.

To begin the second half, things were positive for England. Making strides towards the try line a smart cross-field kick from Smith to Max Malins not gathered by the wing, who the replays showed had the ball drift through his arms to knock-on.

That momentum would pay off as Steward powered over from close range, the back driving hard to give his side a glimmer of hope. A glimmer that would not last long.

To finish the match, France would be nothing short of ruthless. First was another score for Flament as a short box-kick from Dupont was batted back to him by Romain Ntamack, the lock darting over to put the game beyond doubt. If it already wasn’t.

Ollivon was next, his second more opportunistic than anything else as England thought they had recovered the ball in their in-goal area, the former France captain simply placing his hands on the ball well and truly press their foot to English throats.

To tie a bow on things, Damien Penaud got a double. Relatively quiet up to the final 10 minutes, the Clermont wing bagged two gorgeous tries to help France to their half-century. First was latching onto a kick from Gael Fickou, the ball bouncing into the arms of Penaud, who skipped past Dombrandt to canter through.

His second was pure art. A first phase score from a lineout, most of France’s backline were in on the act as the 26-year-old went over in the corner and put a close to a dismal England outing.

At the final whistle, like in the autumn, boos rained down from the stands at Twickenham. Like across the 80 minutes, that rain fell heavily on the England players down on the field, who have much to think about ahead of playing Ireland in Dublin next Saturday.