Saturday, March 20, 2010
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."
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