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Samu Manoa Huge Hit on Billy Twelvetrees


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Benito Masilevu's huge side-steps


Sam Burgess breaks cheekbone, plays on


Why you should always tackle low


Springboks edge All Blacks in thriller

Saturday, March 20, 2010

France win the Grand Slam with victory over England

France win the Grand Slam with victory over England

France won the Grand Slam after beating England in Paris with a workmanlike 12-10 performance that left the visitors wondering what could have been after they missed a few chances that might have changed the result on the night.

England scored early through Ben Foden and looked dangerous with the back three of Foden, Chris Ashton, and Mark Cueto. Ashton in particular had an opportunity in the second half that, perhaps with a bit more composure, should have resulted in a try.

Jonny Wilkinson, who came on as replacement for Riki Flutey, kicked a late penalty from the touchline that brought England close, but France closed out the game by controlling possession for the last few minutes.

Despite not firing on the night, France held off the England challenge and the honours ultimately went to them on a memorable night for French rugby. They have now won nine Grand Slams, and won the Championship title more than any other country.

Questions will be brought up over the ref Bryce Lawrences performance, with Martin Johnson visually upset as he discussed one or two issues with him after the match.

Lewis Moody, captain on the night, said afterwards that there were one or two decisions that went the other way, but added "Never blame the referee. Its our game to win, not his."

Performances by Danny Care, Mike Tindall, and Ben Foden will be positives for England to take away from the match. Tindall however was surprisingly pulled from the pitch in the second half.

Its Frances night though, as theyll be celebrating their first Six Nations Grand Slam in six years. Coach Marc Lievremont said it was "A moment of great pride for me and the squad."

"I thought for a while we were afraid of winning the match. The English largely dominated but we had the nerve in the end to hold on," he added. Captain Thierry Dusautoir echoed the sentiments.

"I feel huge pride in what has happened tonight. It was really tough tonight but we hung in there and for us this evening is hard to put in to words but it is a massive achievement."


Time: 07:4 6

Posted at 11:04 pm | 59 comments

Viewing 59 comments

gavin March 20, 2010 10:11 pm

FIRST !! Grand slam!

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Nico March 20, 2010 10:20 pm

Happy about the outcome as a French fan. Not about the actual game. Kudos to England who looked the more dangerous side tonight. Quite ironic at the end since it's usually the other way round (France offering a more expansive game and ending up loosing to England through penalties!). Glad to see some improvement on the England side.

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Oli March 20, 2010 10:36 pm

Kudos to England from a french fan. By playing so well you made the grand slam even sweeter.
Cheers!

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Anonymous March 20, 2010 10:59 pm

Another Grandslam! That match was tough well done England, but shiiiiiat! that's good!!!!

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Anonymous March 20, 2010 11:07 pm

"They have now won nine Grand Slams, and won the Championship title more than any other country."

That's why i've never understood why everyone is talking about supposed French unconsistency.

That was great to beat a very good English side in an English style tonight, they deserve to be congratulated.

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Anonymous March 20, 2010 11:39 pm

What I don't get is how France aren't in the top 3 ranked countries in the world according to the IRB, considering that Australia are 3rd

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Pulse March 20, 2010 11:56 pm

Well done France, deserved? Maybe.

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Flooz March 21, 2010 12:09 am

9th grand slam for french.

Deserved on the whole tournament but laborious on this last match.
It's quite ironic to see France win an ugly match that England generally win... Most of the time, France should have lost this type of game on a wilkinson drop goal. An english way to win so ;)

Because of the terrible conditions on paris, u just can give credits to 2 things: France defence was beautiful, Dusautoir "destroyer" was everywhere... and the english will to play. brits always tried to light the game despite the muddy atmosphear

To conclude, i think this french generation will learn a lot from this game. They were maybe paralysed by the pression, but nom they should think: "ok now we know how to beat english in ugly way, let's think to rwc 2011"

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Aymeric March 21, 2010 1:12 am

Ca fait plaisir!
Good point Flooz.
It's rare to see France play the english way but effenciency sometimes prevails upon the show and it's good to know that now France is able to be efficient when needed.
The tournament has been rather disappointing in general but from a french point of view it's been very interesting to see how France has been able to win with very different kinds of game plans.
-They just kept the score against the Scots
-They fired it up against Ireland
-They were opportunist against Wales
-Played a total rugby against Italy
-And played "english rugby" to win the slam

Looks like they got a complete arsenal and it's good for the future competitions to come in 2011... even though SH teams are far above what we saw during this 6 nations tournament...

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Anonymous March 21, 2010 1:15 am

Much better performance from England, would like to see Lawes involved. Nice to see the new guys showing promise.

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Kenny March 21, 2010 1:30 am

ah god damnit I hate getting the news and having to wait for the highlights!

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jpm March 21, 2010 2:21 am

The only case of worse reffing I have seen was the 1st test in the Lions v. SA series....oh that was Bryce as well! Bring back his father please.

Congrats to France....they were the best team in the Six Nations although they did nothing today.

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Bokke_2007 March 21, 2010 2:49 am

Well done France! managed to sneak a grand slam with all the pretensions of wanting to throw it away. maybe knowing they already had the cup in the bag took the sting out of their tail. Fair play to England though for pulling a decent game out of the hat, even though Martin Johnson once again showed is coaching ineptitude in yanking Tindall off.

Oh and the reason France aren't higher up the rankings is that beating the might of England, Wales, Ireland, Italy, and Scotland doesn't quite compare to having to play SA and NZ twice each every year, and it's the rank of the opposition that determines the points you get out of it.

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No.7 March 21, 2010 3:00 am

'That's why i've never understood why everyone is talking about supposed French unconsistency.'

Its inconsistency and i think if you need proof you only need to watch FRA v IRE then FRA v ENG (todays match) and tell me those are different french teams....

The performance today was awful by the french (most of the time) and they i must say were lucky to pull off a win! (obviously conditions didnt help)...

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saints lv cup winner March 21, 2010 7:59 am

dont care england lost at least they came and played a bit of rugby i thought they were brillliant today (or france were crap not sure)should have seen this team a bit sooner. i dont get why you would put a player in that is not 100% fit eg mr shaw bring in the lawe

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Anonymous March 21, 2010 10:47 am

Wales and England have won more championship titles and Grand Slams. Just because the name changes (when Italy joins etc), it's still the same tournament.

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Pitseleh March 21, 2010 11:32 am

"Questions will be brought up over the ref Bryce Lawrences performance, with Martin Johnson visually upset as he discussed one or two issues with him after the match."

I'd be curious to know what are these issues. English scrum has been clearly destroyed all along the game - the poor n3 had a very bad evening, which allowed France to score.

Of course I'm glad that we won but it's very frustrating to see us losing our game as soon as we face England. And this heavy rain was a pain in the arse.
"Sorry, good game"

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bib160 March 21, 2010 11:38 am

bravo la france !!!!

It was the exact same match as the world cup semi final, execpt that they switched the jerseys...
england played a very good rugby (i keep thinking that Flood is way better than Wilkinson)but were too undisiplined to hope winning.

Frenchs deserve the grand slam because they show five different way to play rugby during the 5 matches.

dont forget that lots of french player didn't play: dupuy, barcella, picamoles, heymans, medard, milo chlusky, traille, michalak... this team can surely win the World cup

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Anonymous March 21, 2010 11:40 am

I really feel sorry for the English wing (I think it was Ashton) who chipped the ball when he was like 20 metres away from the last French defender with support on his side. This is what pressure does to people.

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Ted March 21, 2010 12:30 pm

Congratulations to the French - you guys deserved the Grand Slam. If England can't win with the amount of possession they had in the second half then they don't deserve to win, as simple as that.

As far as playing styles are concerned, it's hard not to be offended as an Englishman by the French fans here claiming they played 'in the English style'. For much of this game France were terrible and if England had been more clinical would have lost by some margin. The 'English style' that was successful in 2003 was hard-nosed and unsentimental, taking points wherever they were available; much the same as the SA approach in fact.

As far as the reffing was concerned, the fact that the penalty count stood at 8-2 in favour of France was no doubt what Jonno was on about.

Anyway, France deresved champions, just about, and at least signs of improvement from England.

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Britz March 21, 2010 12:31 pm

Now they should force France to play the Blue Bulls, a real rugby team.

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Pitseleh March 21, 2010 1:50 pm

Agree with Ted about the playing style : we did attack very poorly and our defense wasn't what I excepted. Fortunately our forwards were once again in great shape : prop Nicolas Mas has been considered as "player of the match" by French TV viewers.

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Maximus March 21, 2010 2:23 pm

GRAND SLAM!

I'm so satisfied even though there's a lot to say about the way we played this last match. Even the coach was somehow a little disappointed about the lack of running rugby.
Mind that in spite of the pressure (being clear favourites for this game), the suddenly shitty weather, the youth of the team, the injured players (over the tournament I mean): we stayed focused and did not choke!

Grand Slam and IRB ranking secured: "les petits" can be proud!
And the English can be happy too because they were impressive yesterday.

Harinordoquy, player of the tournament for me.

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Ben March 21, 2010 2:23 pm

Well done France for the 6 nations and England for their intentions!

The conditions didn't allow a good rugby, knock on and slides waste every game ambitions. Funny to see that the traditions of rugby were inversed: England played french, France playef english

I watched the match on france tv. The commentators summarized the last minutes in a funny way: "Come'on guys pick and go just like munster, nevermind!" :)

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Alexander March 21, 2010 2:31 pm

Mmm. Congrats France would have been criminal for the superior team in the tournament not to be crowned grand slammers. BUT, as a fellow prop the scrum was NOT refereed well, and cost both sides (just that England were camped in their 22 hence points for French). Seriously, they should do away with it because the refs today CANNOT referee it. Simple, easy penalties in this tournament such as binding at the arm, the FIRST thing you learn as a ref, was ignored! Needs to be sorted because many teams such as Italy and France rely on a very strong platform such as the scrum!!

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bib160 March 21, 2010 2:31 pm

TED:
don't be offended by the term "english rugby". it is just a fact that during the 2003 world cup england played as poorly as the french did saturday. but both won...

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Anonymous March 21, 2010 4:25 pm

to Britz above: they did play already South africa, smashed them, so wtf with a provincial team?

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No.7 March 21, 2010 4:32 pm

'i dont get why you would put a player in that is not 100% fit eg mr shaw bring in the lawe'

Shaw is better than lawe so i suppose it was the hope he'd be ok...

'don't be offended by the term "english rugby". it is just a fact that during the 2003 world cup england played as poorly as the french did saturday. but both won...'

Ummm so you saying the 2003 final england played poorly???

'to Britz above: they did play already South africa, smashed them, so wtf with a provincial team?'

HAHAHAHAHA nice comeback

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jpm March 21, 2010 5:06 pm

Odddly enough I felt like the rain helped France. Shaw going off was a blow. He was instrumental in our last 3 wins versus France. We missed him in the scrums as well.

Fiar play to France. England had 2 clear chances to score and butchered 2 of them....the Ashton chip ahead to nowhere was a shocka.

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Anonymous March 21, 2010 5:34 pm

We did absolutely nothing yesterday but we still won which is pretty much a good performance and the sign of a great team. Fair play to England they were in great form and that makes the taste of victory even sweeter.

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Anonymous March 21, 2010 6:14 pm

I didn't expect the English to play that well, their performance made that match a very tense one until the last minute. great defense from the french at times but lack of "french flair" in general i think. Sure, the rain didn't exactly help.
I watched the match live in 3D in a Paris cinema. 3D sport transmissions surely are the future!great technology!

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kevdetoulouse March 21, 2010 7:07 pm

"The performance today was awful by the french (most of the time)"

you call yourself no7? in curling?

Good to see France has everything a good team needs.
I think we''ll be dangerous at the WC.
Read the French went drunk at the press conference this morning!
Didn' go to any press conference... But did the same!

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Bonzo March 21, 2010 8:00 pm

From the highlights, I saw many times french tight-end prop push not straight against england hooker, and the whole french scrum push well before the ball was introduced.

What do you think about that?
Wasn't it worth of penalty kicks against France?

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Anonymous March 21, 2010 8:19 pm

makes a mockery of ignoring foden for so long. espescially in the autumn internationals when idiotically had monye at FB. Also, cant believe lawes didnt get at least half in the entire six nations

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David March 21, 2010 10:34 pm

Deserved for France on the whole tournament
England will be in the good way playing like that. They almost wasted the party :)

PS: a personal remark on bbc comments, still biased, silly and narrow-minded. I remember France wasn't even present in the 6 nations presentation video, u can wait for a long time before to see a 2010 tourmament compilation...

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Pitseleh March 21, 2010 11:14 pm

"From the highlights, I saw many times french tight-end prop push not straight against england hooker, and the whole french scrum push well before the ball was introduced.

What do you think about that?"

I think... that English scrum often pushed before the ball was introduced - both teams did it, but only English side moved back ;)

About your first impression : English n3 tried to escape the push all along the game, so Hartley took much pressure.

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No.7 March 22, 2010 12:38 am

kevdetoulouse, you dont think?

yes there were elements of good play, but comparing them to their previous performances they were awful....its all relative....

NZ whitewashing italy, you could say NZ played well
NZ beating italy by 10 points, you'd say they played awful....

see what i mean?!

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Nico March 22, 2010 12:50 am

@TED
I reckon most of us are referring to expansive versus forward-driven-play-in-the-opponent's-22 rugby. I, for one, am not suggesting that France was as good as England in the 2003 RWC, which would be ludicrous. Simply that, as far as running the ball is concerned, France has often offered more in the expansive rugby compartment than England, but all the same often lost to England who were playing a more restrictive yet clinical rugby.
This year, while I am certainly not very happy with this last game in terms of rugby style, I don't think that you can blame the French for a lack of discipline and dedication in defence (which used to be our weakness). This, IMHO, has far as the comparison - if any- goes between 2003 and this year's 6N.

In other words, don't be offended here. 99% of the French fans and players are actually quite proud of having been able to win an "ugly" win against England for once. As much as I irrationally hate the England team, it's a bloody compliment coming from a frog. :-)

Very interested in how this England team will develop over the next year or so.

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Gman March 22, 2010 2:31 am

I'm glad I missed it. It looks like it was a pretty boring game.Still, it's always good to beat the English at their own game. However, when it comes to winning the World Cup I wouldn't get overexcited just yet... It's a long way to go.

What's with the Bulls supporters? Why are they always so aggro?

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No.7 March 22, 2010 2:39 am

Nico, the french fans should be proud....this is what im always arguing about when people come on and say:

'the shit team won' or 'the team that scored no tries wins, thats ridiculous'

im not suggesting france is crap for a second, but my argument to those people is: why the hell would the team care? i mean, yes you can analyse the hell out of it, and no doubt the french coaching staff will, they will look at it and say 'geez guys that was stupid, you could do this and problem solved' etc etc....but they will not doubt finish off any criticising statement with 'BUT HEY YOU GUYS WON IT AT THE END OF THE DAY!'

So no matter how 'relatively bad' (kevdetoulouse) they played, they pulled it out the hat, and they have a grandslam, so no doubt they will sit back and smile!!!

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No.7 March 22, 2010 2:40 am

Shit, sorry, i havent said it yet!

Congratulations France, they deserved it!

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numro 8 March 22, 2010 2:55 am

As someone said before : no scrum, no win. Without our scrum, we won't have won the Gran Slam. The front line is probably one of the best in the world. Thanks to these guys.

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Benson March 22, 2010 5:41 am

Gman, it's one troll who keeps posting stuff about the Bulls on here to stir trouble. Don't let the loser lead you to think they're all like that.

Congrats to France. Enjoyable match, even with Brian Moore spouting off like a spoilt brat throughout.

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Anonymous March 22, 2010 12:29 pm

Well done France. Nearly spoiled your celebrations though.

I enjoyed the game, have absolutely no problems with the french style of play. Ref was a bit shit for some of the pens but nothing wrong with not scoring a try and still winning. It's ridiculous that some people are saying that.

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Anonymous March 22, 2010 12:42 pm

Hello,
One thing to say still: Englishmen were superb last saturday night. They put fire many times especially in seconf half... But the rain they brought from oversea did extinguish it!

Seriously: rugby is great, you never know what next match will be made of.
gg Frenchmen!

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Gwen March 22, 2010 1:55 pm

Being a welshman i was 100% neutral watching this game, Didnt really care who won aslong as it was entertaining, it was ok.

However the ref ruined it for me, I actually got quite pissed of with him in the first half, excluding the scrum, he was blatently biased towards england.

And right at the end he gave england a penalty advantage, then 1 phase passed and england ended up 5-10m BEHIND the gain line and he calls 'Advantage Over'. Hes living on another planet.

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Anonymous March 22, 2010 2:39 pm

Is that Brian Moore the commentator who's barking? Geez...

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kevdetoulouse March 22, 2010 2:40 pm

@ no 7:

Sorry but I do not agree.
It's obvious that the French weren't offensive but the defence was unbelievable! Truly, I think the English played their best game since a long time and the French had to be strong to keep the score.
And NO, the score isn't the only criteria for a good game.

So, I'd say the French didn't run the ball but the fowards played awsome in the scrums and defence.

That's why I was suprised a no 7 didn't see it. Since the flankers Dussautoir and Bonnaire were almighty!

btw, I'd love to see Dussautoir's contact on Moody in the second half

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Anonymous March 22, 2010 5:03 pm

to kev,

u won't see the england captain tackled on a bbc footage :)

great for france, good effort from england, but poor conditions

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Anonymous March 22, 2010 9:19 pm

thanks Brian Moore for barking at the ref even though the forward pass decision was the right one.

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Eddie March 22, 2010 10:13 pm

Brain Moore confirming himself as the most bias commentator...and he didn't even have the decency to admit your wrong properly. Gota love the beeb, but they really need to hire some good commentators, who know the game and aren't just washed up bias ex players. And Butler ain't much better.
Bill you must be rolling over in your grave, your missed greatly!
rant over!

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Andy March 22, 2010 10:34 pm

Er completely off topic but is there a way of finding the nearest rugby club in France? I know we have one for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on the RFU/BBC website but i can't find one for France? Any help much appreciated as am about to move there.

Congratulations to France, we made you work for it though :)

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Gman March 23, 2010 12:55 am

Thanks Benson

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Anonymous March 23, 2010 5:35 am

'Brain Moore confirming himself as the most bias commentator...and he didn't even have the decency to admit your wrong properly.'

Um infact brian moore apologises on numerous occassions in games for things..........

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rodofle March 23, 2010 10:18 am

Andy,

In what region of France are you gonna move? There's a way to find the "nearest rugby club" on the FFR site, but it's all in french, so unless you speak french it's a bit difficult to understand. If you tell me where you're gonna go i can directly give you the link to the nearest clubs list in your future area in France.

But if you speak french, here is the link:
http://www.ffr.fr/index.php/ffr/rugby_francais/ou_pratiquer

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Andy March 23, 2010 10:47 am

Rodolfe,

Thanks. I speak French well enough to do that. Going to be in Nice I think, only looking for a small amateur club. I know it's off Season soon but are there 7's tournaments or anything over the summer? Thanks again for your help.

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Anonymous March 23, 2010 10:56 am

Andy,

You can find all local clubs on the French Rugby federation website

http://www.ffr.fr/index.php/ffr/rugby_francais/ou_pratiquer

On Brian Moore, I've never seen someone apologizing so much in a single match. Thank god he wasn't the ref (no matter how bad the re on the day was).

It definitely was the best English performance of the tournament.

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vinniechan March 23, 2010 11:52 am

I've argued on countless different forum: England never really saw counter rucking as a source of winning possessions.
Had either team in the Ireland vs Scotland match allowed the ball sit the back of the ruck for long, the other team would counter ruck like hell.
England allowed the French to kill far too much time by not counter rucking, which is perhaps part of the reason why they are so short of possession through out this season

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Olly March 24, 2010 7:27 am

I think counter rucking is becoming a much bigger part of games now....Im a little confused as im sure it has only really appeared over the last few years....

....But yeh, france had it at the base and took all day, brian moore complained that england would be penalised for trying to contest it....i somewhat agree, referees are very picky about contesting for the ball...sometimes in games i hear referees saying 'leave it now' and the player contesting is working his way through the middle of the ruck....there is no law (i am aware of) that says he must leave it....I think THIS is an area that should be looked at with the views to allowing players some more freedom to fight for the ball....

The big problem england had was that they didnt commit many or any players to rucks early on, which allowed france to get one hell of a foundation to base that ruck on, and with a handful of forwards being given the time to get safe and strong positions, if england did decide to counter, then it was far too late....

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