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Sunday, February 24, 2013

England stay on track for Grand Slam with win over France

England continued their charge towards a Six Nations Grand Slam as they beat France 23-13 in a fascinating game at Twickenham on Saturday. Skipper Chris Robshaw attributed the win to the home team's defence against a dangerous French side. 

France had led 10-9 at halftime thanks to the boot of Morgan Parra and a superb try by Wesley Fofana down the left flank. Fofana evaded a number of weak England tackles as he gave Twickenham a taste of his highly regarded speed and strength.

A fourth Owen Farrell penalty and an opportunistic try by bloodied Manu Tuilagi gave England the lead before replacement Toby Flood came on to add two penalties.

Captain Chris Robshaw, who was immense yet again, was full of praise for Tuilagi.

"‘Manu was great. He came into the team and you could really see his power and physicality, as well as his ability to hit a great line and use his hands. He wanted to prove a point - and he did just that," said Robshaw, who has been making a serious claim for the Lions captaincy in recent weeks.

"We were a little bit slow coming out of the blocks. They caused all kinds of problems, we expected that. So credit to all the guys, it's a great win. Our defence in the first half was pretty sloppy. Once we sorted that out it was pretty good," he said.

England must now beat Italy at home and Wales away to capture the elusive Grand Slam, which they haven't won since the Rugby World Cup winning year of 2003.

Posted at 12:48 pm | 64 comments

Posted in Six Nations 2013

Viewing 64 comments

rugbyprout February 24, 2013 6:10 pm

FOFANA !!!!! Perhaps the try of the year

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DrG February 25, 2013 1:42 am

That was an awesome try.

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Oliver February 24, 2013 8:14 pm

Kudos to England but to me, that win was not entirely deserved. Let's just say I never, ever want to see Joubert referee a French game again.

- even the BBC website admits an offside player allowed Tuilagi's try.
- at the 12 th min, there was no knock-on, TrinDuc only touched the ball with his feet. And that would have been another try by Fofana.

Some will call me a sore loser but those two decisions alone would have changed the outcome! Watch the game again and make up your own mind....
Oh well.

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Colombes February 24, 2013 9:04 pm

Would be harsh to say that England didn't deserved their victory.
Ok, France dominated the whole thing during 60 minutes, but they failed to concretize 2 important kicks. when, England may had some really good luck (try should have never been allowed, some penalties forgotten..) but i find that they finished very well thanks to their "impact" bench!
France subs didn't brought a 2nd breathe. Michalak, for example, was "burnt". He has played too much this season. it's time to introduce new guys like plisson, lopez or barraque to help the pair TD-Parra.
Fitness was the key. Joubert just added his usual "hometown" role...
As a french fan, i don't care Joubert antics, i'm more worried by the (un)capacity of the FFR to find agreements with Top14 clubs for a true and credible international calendar for 2014 and 2015. Without a good preparation (1 month), like all others 5 nations, u can't create cohesion and preserve the best players.

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Sankeor February 24, 2013 9:36 pm

That's a totally different problem...

Let's be honest, and lucid : how do you think a game like that was won ??
>> PENALTIES !!! And giving away 18 points with undeserved penalties annoys me, what about you ?

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strjd February 24, 2013 9:47 pm

Dominated for 60 minutes??? Were you watching the same game?? Admittedly England were lucky to be awarded the try but at no time did the French team dominate possession, territory or look threatening. The game was even in the 1st half and then England dominated the 2nd half......as long as the French media and supporters keep blaming the referee or the fact that there are too many foreigners in their league or all the other excuses, the French team won't win anything. I'm tired of hearing about Joubert....France shouldn't have been in the 2011 final anyway having been completely dominated by a 14 man Wales team. It's just getting boring, in Rugby the French lose because of refereeing decisions, in the Olympics because of "extra round wheels" and cheating, in the Tour de France because the English are on drugs. Stop blaming others and just concentrate on your own failings, those being an inadequate back line, no squad depth, poor half backs, awful coaching and no winning mentality (except for Dusautoir, Picamoles and a decent front line).

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Oliver February 24, 2013 10:03 pm

Maybe you should make a comment about WWII now...That would be as relevant to the discussion at hand as the rest of your arguments.

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strjd February 24, 2013 10:54 pm

I think you'll find most of my argument was rugby related but read into it what you want

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remi February 26, 2013 1:17 am

i'm french and i think -strjd- is right. the french shouldnt blame the referee all the time and focus on the game. The winning mentality is not there... The players look tired and not motivated...

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gezza February 26, 2013 9:13 am

Not to mention his shambolic performance in 2011 World Cup Final. France really did not have any luck.

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Hazell February 24, 2013 8:23 pm

Joubert is a dishonest referee it's a shame.

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Max February 24, 2013 8:43 pm

Joubert killed us again. Not saying we would have won this one without him as the referee, but one try denied, the Tuilagi one being offside and lots of harsh penalties...

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threma February 24, 2013 8:52 pm

Guys, seriously, stop blaming the referee. I'm French too and I also think some calls were not the right ones, but the truth is that our coaching was really lame. I don't understand why Trinh Duc is replaced at the 55th minute while he was really good. I don't get why we replace the whole 1st row when we were dominating the scrum. Plus Machenaud and Michalak made too many mistakes.

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Sankeor February 24, 2013 8:52 pm

I don't want to be perceived as a sore loser neither but I fully agree with you on that.

I'm not sure about Tuilagi's try, of course it's not a beautiful try but can't see any reason to not accept it. I don't blame Joubert for Trinh-Duc fake knock-on either because any referee could have wistled that and he didn't see the TMO...

BUT... on the overall, I found the ref outrageous on many penalties accorded to the english side (especially on rucks, but not only), the 2 last penalties being imo very representative of his severity (3:55 the ref shouts "13" while 13 can't move or is moving away for the engl side and clearly shows that he doesn't obstruct the ruck.... 4:10 number 23 is legally going for the ball and was not involved in the tackle, he's on his feet while the eng player trying to clear him is not, Joubert asks him to let the poor Ashton alone... WHY ????)

Other examples I have in mind :
During a sideline the engl side collapsed the french jumper who crashed on the ground (that's a yellow card as far as I know about correct refing)..., frequent use of the hand from engl players in the ruck..., maybe not penalisable but huge lack of fairplay from both the engl side and the ref too (Farrel : I think everybody noticed, and also after the french try the engl side keeping the ball and when Parra gets it the ref comes and says "25 seconds").

I didnt watch the game again and I forgot a lot of other details but I was truly shocked and disgusted and I feel like this ref shouldn't ref anymore games involving France again.

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Sankeor February 24, 2013 9:46 pm

I forgot to mention that Trinh-Duc would have scored a try if Joubert didn't blow the whistle, when Trinh-Duc made a weird move with his heel to bounce the ball back in his hands.
Also the shoulder charge that swiped Dussautoir in the air, the engl player got away without even a yellow, or the penalty right before half time where the touch ref shows the engl fault but Joubert reverses it... wtf !

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strjd February 24, 2013 9:49 pm

The knock on wasn't given against Trinh Duc, watch it again

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Oliver February 24, 2013 9:59 pm

I did watch it again. And it was. Tell me your version, I'd be interested....

As for Tuilagi's try, an english player kicked the ball into Vunipola's feet, who was offside. The ball then ricoched to Tuilagi.

Like Sankeor, I was also shocked at the penalty given to England when number 23, Fritz, was absolutely legally contesting the ball.

Joubert must've been cuckholded by a Frenchman, that's the only logical explanation.

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Eggman February 24, 2013 10:25 pm

I had the impression that the problem was the pass to TD, which went slightly forward, not his knock on, which was fine since it came off his boot. So they were actually called for a forward pass, not a knock on IMHO. TBH i didn't hear what the ref or commentators said as I was watching it down at the pub, so it might be that Joubert gave a different explanation.

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strjd February 24, 2013 11:10 pm

Yep sure, must be the only explanation.....funny that almost every English victory over France in the past 10 years (and there have been a lot) have been disputed by the French press (l'Equipe in particular) as being unjust whereas after England's loss in the World Cup,there was universal praise in the British press for France's 1st half performance. I guess the world is against you guys. And before I get shouted down for not speaking about this match in particular, I agree that the try should not have stood but I could also point out 2 penalties that should have been given against Picamoles at the breakdown, a knock on that shouldn't have stood and a defninite yellow card in the last 10 minutes of the game for not releasing. Rugby is a game of many opinions, to say a referee is out to get a team is ignorant.

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Sankeor February 24, 2013 11:36 pm

In 76 during a football game a french presentator repeatedly insulted a ref, live on tv, that was a huge scandal. That's certainly why crtiiczing referees seems to be the biggest of all taboos in french medias, but you might not know that actually, and medias only suggest hints of partiality from the ref on rare and obvious cases like the 2011 RWC final scandal (and as a matter of fact guess who was the ref... ).
Now, maybe french supporters are eager to show the world the unfairness of all this because the medias and the french rugby executives cowardly ignore that kind of cases.

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Colombes February 24, 2013 11:58 pm

rather to deform, reinterprate every posters comments or simply lie on french medias, i seriously invite you to quit this forum, where it is about rugby, and just rugby. do us, and do you a favor please.

ps: rugby is made of rules, no opinions

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strjd February 25, 2013 12:48 am

So anyone who disagrees with you should leave the forum? If you want a group of people to agree with you, just post on the website of l'Equipe, it will be easier. The funny thing about all of this is that I live in France and have greatly enjoyed many sportsmen that your country has produced (Rives,Sella,Blanco,Ibanez,Chavet,Dusautoir etc). What I find reprehensible is this need to blame the referee for a sub-par performance. The grim reality is that this was England's poorest and France's best performance of the tournament but England still deserved to win. Finally, your comment on rugby being based on rules is obvious, my point is that different referees will interpret those rules in different ways, especially at the breakdown.

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Colombes February 25, 2013 11:59 am

"So anyone who disagrees with you should leave the forum?"

absolutely not.

but if someone (you) begin to post a bunch of "france clichés", try to create a puerile 100 years war tension, have a very poor knowledge of actual irb rules, and deliberatly deform every posters arguments, i would simply recommend him (still you) to move on a much more populist place >> Youtube.

That said, i'm much more concerned by French players lack of fitness and FFF/Top14 lack of organisation, than Joubert biased way to ref. sour grapes won't change that
Nothing to do with England. In fact, France should be inspired by England, not in the game style (nop..), but by copying their RFU/Premiership agreements.

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iamaroman February 25, 2013 9:22 pm

You might live in France but obvious don't understand what's going on. L'Equipe are just analysing the game, if there was a poor referring decision they'll talk about it.

If you think that was England's poorest performance then you should probably start watching a bit more rugby...if you would've watched the game and analysis on BBC you'd understand better.

Just because a sports paper doesn't agree with your bigoted opinion doesn't mean you have to trash talk about it. They've got great articles, maybe you need to start reading? They're not one sided, they even cited Picamoles deserving a yellowcard for tripping up farrell.

http://www.lequipe.fr/Rugby/Actualites/On-a-revu-le-match/352728

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kadova February 26, 2013 3:28 am

L'Equipe is famous for understanding absolutely nothing to rugby. If you're French, you should know it.
And yes, i'm french myself.

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moddeur February 25, 2013 1:03 am

I'm French (more or less), and I often support France (but I love a Rugby-playing NH side in general, be it English, Scottish ...etc).
So I am bound to be subjective when it comes to refereeing. But since I love rugby, and rugby is so awesome, and rugby makes my (ex-)girlfriend so happy, I should logically say "never blame the referee", while twiddling my monocle and looking for a credible way to look serious.

But I can't do that when some referees are on the pitch. Wayne Barnes for instance, always supports the attacking team. Joubert, for instance, always supports anyone but the French. It's not that the latter favours the English -he doesn't (11 vs 12 penalties in this match for England). It's that he screams "USE IT!" after half a second when France has the ball, or says "ROLL AWAY BLUE [ANY NUMBER]" at any opportunity in a ruck when France is defending, and forgets to do so at any other opportunity, particularly adverse. The man has some issues regarding his family name, must be that ...

It's also because Joubert blatantly referees alone ("what? can't hear you") said Joubert to his line judge when the latter reacted to Vunipola's offside position when the ball goes forward and bounces off Vunip. to see the Tuilagi try off).
He's the type of referee who'll go see Morgan Parra to tell him "25 seconds left (to take your goal kick)", while Parra had to go by himself and grab the ball out of the English try zone.
You'll never hear Joubert tell Farrell "ok lad, you've got 25 seconds to go" if Farrell had to go and get the winning ball himself.

England obviously stronger on the day, and with a much better bench.
France partly sabotaged by coach PSA. Joubert not helping much.
Time for me to go and play EL ROUUUUUUUUUBY SI SENOR

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moddeur February 25, 2013 8:55 am

Wow, wrote this drunk at 1am. Long whine against Joubert. Can't stand this referee when France is playing, he just seems to be on a personal vendetta against Les Bleus. It's surely a post-traumatic thing, linked to the World Cup final.
I did say England were much stronger (and would have won anyhow once PSA's brilliant substitutions were made). I would have blamed Joubert regardless of who France were playing.

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Facepalm February 25, 2013 11:42 am

The funny thin is your drunk comment at 1am makes more sense than any other comment on here.

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DrG February 26, 2013 5:38 pm

LMAO Moddeur, that was a brilliant comment, made for some great reading. Especially laughed out loud at: "Wayne Barnes for instance, always supports the attacking team. Joubert, for instance, always supports anyone but the French."

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Sankeor February 27, 2013 4:06 am

Fully agree, except one particular thing, I don't think you would have written "England were much stronger" if they had lost... (I mean, no point being falsely modest, we are no diplomats)

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anba March 02, 2013 3:37 am

I saw the match again and it's true that the "25 seconds left" on the parra's kick and the systematic "use it" for the french are shocking. And i don't mention the contentious decisions on the penalties. I thought joubert miss his match during the wc final in 2011 but now i have some doubt about his honesty. There is no problem with all the others referee like Rolland, Barnes or Owens (who is for me the best) but Joubert... stop refereeing France please! Nothing to say about the victories of Italy and Wales against France wich are deserved and the english aren't responsible for the refereeing of Joubert.

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Tc February 24, 2013 10:14 pm

When a ruck is formed players can't handle the ball. The technical argument of when a ruck is formed would be a valid argument, but the truth is that if a ref calls ruck or asks a player to release, then they are obliged to comply or give a penalty away whether right or wrong

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Sankeor February 24, 2013 11:04 pm

"When a ruck is formed players can't handle the ball."
Fritz came when the ruck wasn't formed yet (plus, the ruck was illegaly contested bythe eng side).
I'm fine with your argument that Fritz had to release if the ref says so, but that kinda means that whether we let the opponent pass without resistance, whether we take penalties nearly whenever the ref wants.
That's what I call being f****d without vaseline and then say thank you, sir.

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strjd February 24, 2013 10:58 pm

At 4:10, in what world do you see him being "on his feet"???

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Sankeor February 24, 2013 11:08 pm

Dude, whether you're blind whether you should check the meaning of "feet".
In both cases I advice you to give up rugby, this is not a sport for you.

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strjd February 24, 2013 11:17 pm

Thanks for the advice but I'll leave it. He gets taken off his feet and his hands are still in the ruck, definite pen and probably a yellow as it was the 5th offence.

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Sankeor February 24, 2013 11:50 pm

Indeed, now "He gets taken off his feet", so he was indeed on his feet... And who gets him off his feet ? I think that was Barritt, not sure though, but he got off his feet way before, and was on the side of the ruck (offside). And I think Fritz demonstrated to the ref well enough time that Ashton was keeping the ball. So your argument goes up in smoke as soon as it came.
Yellow ? 5th offence ? Haha, any references available ? I'd like to see that. Anyway you seem to be a big english supporter so there's no point debating with you, you'll never recognize anything.

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DrG February 26, 2013 5:44 pm

Totally agree, the French player was there long enough to highlight the fact that the ball was not being released.

Like the knock ons perhaps, when one team knocks it on and the other team tries to pick it up but they knock it on, referee blows the whistle and says "1st knock on red, 2nd knock on green, come back for a scrum for the 1st knock on"... This could be seen as "1st penalty against white for holding on, 2nd against blue for coming off his feet"...

I don't want to jump on the "ref cost France the game" bandwagon, but that incident alone was ridiculous, especially if you stop it at 4:11 you see Ashton on the floor with the ball, 1 english player standing up rucking and another english player pretty much lying on the floor...

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Reality February 26, 2013 7:46 pm

Am I the only one that thinks the penalty wasn't for playing the ball after the ruck had formed? Joubert says, "Clear release" which would suggest to me that he Fritz didn't release the player after he had tackled him before playing the ball. However, even in that case, the call would be completely wrong, because Fritz's release couldn't have been clearer.

Also, does anyone else think that Joubert seemed to be treating France unfairly because of the world cup final? After the amount of (justified) abuse he got, I get the impression that now he either has a chip on his shoulder and wants to take it out on the team that's responsible, or he's so afraid of being accused of treating France well to make up for his past mistakes that he's overreacting and doing the opposite, and therefore treating them unjustly.

In any case, I can't believe the IRB actually let him referee a match involving France after what happened in the world cup final. It's just insulting and unfair.

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dave February 25, 2013 8:01 pm

lol on all the shitty ref commenting, if you've played rugby and understand how to win it is understood the way the ref calls the game is a factor in how you play just as much as the weather, you adapt to the conditions, there were poor calls on both sides, people say that the try shouldn't have been allowed and that it would have changed the complexion of the game, well england made that try with their pressure, if we go back to the tour of south africa, willem alberts try against england in the second test shouldn't have been technically been awarded but because of their pressure they made their luck, anyways good effort to both sides, if france brings this play later in the tourament they should have ireland and scotlands number, cant wait to rewatch this game

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Facepalm February 24, 2013 9:33 pm

Could a Frenchman tell me what's happened to Malzieu? Is he injured?

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Francis February 24, 2013 10:01 pm

Malzieu is injured since few weeks.

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Colombes February 25, 2013 12:03 am

since years, would be more appropriate ;)

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FatProp February 25, 2013 12:06 am

Dont understand why everyone is complaining at the end of the day moaning wont change the result. Everyone will agree England were lucky and the French coach cost them the game.
In my opinion Robshaw is now the lions captain he is a great flanker and captain but Gatland just hates the English so players like
Robshaw Cole T Youngs Launchbury Parling Woods Care Farrell Tuilagi Foden Barritt
I am saying in the squad not test squad just on the plane

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Guy February 25, 2013 12:18 am

Wow! Definitely some grapes that are sour enough to fill the battery of my car with...

From a completely neutral perspective: pleasantly surprised to see France showed up for this match...but honestly: even after that collective cock-up by England that led to that individual piece of brilliance by Fofana, England never ever looked like they were going to lose this match.

And lets stop whining about the ref. It just makes you look like a sore loser.

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moddeur February 25, 2013 8:51 am

I'll always whine about Joubert, like a few million other people here in France. It's personal. I generally try to avoid blaming the ref, but when it's Joubert I can't.

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MisterDavid February 27, 2013 4:55 pm

Quite right. France should have won the World Cup - I think whining at Joubert is the least you should do!

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DrG February 25, 2013 1:44 am

I thought France played better to start with, but as we learned today (where Ireland played better) the only thing that matters is the points on the board. Sure lessons can be taken, but perhaps fairly or unfairly, the final score is all that really matters...

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FelipeG February 25, 2013 10:28 am

I m not french, still I like their team. Joubert was a shame, that's so obvious. Or I don't know anything about rugby.
When an english player is down, with the ball in his hand, not releasing it, and a french player tries to reach for it, standing on his two feet, the penalty should be against the english, or am I really ignorant of the rules?
I think it's not that crazy to say France was "dominating" during 60min. They broke the English line several times. Better line-up, better scrum. England didn't look weak of course, but not threatening. Fofana's try was an "accident" (a great individual performance VS poor defense) in some way, but it's well deserved for the 4-5 times the french broke the line and looked really threatening.
I d like to know what happened, in the begininng of the match, when a french player (Parra?)seemed to hold his head in pain and Farell walking away from him. Couldn't see the origin of it on T.V... anyone knows better? Am I the only one to be irritated by Farell's arrogant attitude? This guy is not anywhere near the class of Wilkinson...
Anyway, it was a very exciting game between two really good teams and indeed, the french bench was almost as bad as Joubert :-)

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BenjaJ February 25, 2013 11:26 am

Farrell gave a shoulder strike in the head of Parra. Nothing serious, Parra overdid it, but still silly.

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FelipeG February 25, 2013 1:29 pm

Thanks! I suspected something like that (both parts of it!).

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Max February 25, 2013 11:55 am

Yes France is bad these days but God Dammit the referee is not helping !!

unbelievable decisions all game long.

Gonna start thinking that this guy cannot do something else than giving advantage to home side, just remember the world cup final.

2 bad decisions at the end (try and fritz penalty) which gives the game to england.

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Oliver February 25, 2013 12:21 pm

I'd like to point out noone complained about the ref when France lost to Italy and Wales.

Anyways, time to move on. I just hope we don't end up with the wooden spoon!

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Facepalm February 25, 2013 2:09 pm

Corbisiero plays = England win scrums.

Corbisiero doesn't play = England don't win scrums.

Corbisiero is the shit, Marler is just shit.

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oldflyhalf February 25, 2013 5:14 pm

"Yesterday", Wayne Barnes -RWC 2007, France - New Zealand-. "Today", Joubert. Unfortunately, is a major regress for the spirit of the game of rugby.

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Eric February 25, 2013 6:58 pm

The explanation of France failure must be sought in France. French players are burnt. Top 14 might the best league in Europe right now. Competition is ferocious there. And strangely enough, as Toulouse is not playing very well this year in Top 14, les bleus are having their worst VI nations in recent years. I am not a Toulouse supporter but it is a club that always provides 5 up to 10 players in the national squad. Analysing Toulouse results, you might find an explanation to XV de France very erratic journey.

I am French and I would say that nowadays, a greater danger is settling in France : how we can't respect the ref decision. A dire example of that is what happened with Parisse insulting a ref. He is the bloody captain of Stade Français. Italian sure. But this is spreading fast, that lack of respect. Heard Galthié last week talking about the ref during Toulon-Montpellier: are you fucking kidding me? Sometimes, this posture of mind can be found on this very website.
Guys, I agree: Joubert cost us a lot. Probably a world cup. But he is a ref. Remember Rolland in the semi-finals and his infamous red card of Warburton. We heard the Welshs after that, their very bitter feelings about it. But they took it as men. Same for 2007 RWC France-NZ: I agree with you oldflyhalf, that was on great piece of terrible refereeing.

Eventually, I hate those players faking injuries: where on earth are we heading too??
I begin to see more of these on Top 14.

Let's cut the BS right now and get back to the fundamentals.
We are not playing well.

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Frenchie February 25, 2013 9:28 pm

Joubert's referring was shocking. Only to mention the "I can't hear you" incident: if the touch line calls out an infringement and you don[t hear what he's saying the common sense would be to stop the game at the 1st possible occasion, check with the assistant and make a decision.
No, instead he just ignored his assistant.

The referring was not the only reason france lost but Joubert 's mistakes (big ones) were a game changing decision; no try, yellow card. A shame for the game.

As for England i was not impressed again. Besides their defense they didn't show much to me. The played much better after our the best French players were sent to the bench. St Andre coaching drained all the best from the French side.
What was St Andre thinking?? he wouldn't say anything in the press...of course.

Fofana's try is amazing, to the ones who say it's mainly due to a poor defense i'd tell them to check again.
Fofana was strong enough to break through Laws tackle, then stepped inside and smoked Ashton, hand off Youngs/Ashton then accelerates again. Class!

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Leadbitter February 26, 2013 3:59 pm

Rather than bad refereeing and substitutions, I feel that the poise, game management and ability to put massive amounts of pressure on the opposition are bigger contributing factors to England’s recent wins.
You only have to watch the New Zealand game, the Irish game and this recent victory against France to see how world class players, no matter how good or accomplished, can be made to look very ordinary when you have a line speed and intensity at the breakdown that England bring.
France brought their A game and in many areas were just as good if not better than England, as you would expect a team with that amount of quality players to be. But, what France could not do was maintain that competiveness over 80 minutes. Whilst the French back row was `winning’ the first 55/60 minutes, they were unquestionably outplayed as a unit over the last 20minutes. The French mid field threat which was so prevalent in the first half was effectively snubbed out in the second. They gave it everything they could and it was not good enough. You make your own luck, and I think there could be a link to how lucky England have been / will be the more they smash a side in the last 30 minutes of a test match game.

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kadova February 26, 2013 3:06 am

Why nobody here seems not to believe that MAYBE Joubert was actually not hearing the touchline ref ? Although, he should have come to him or let him come to him ?
ALso, Lancaster said during the week he will target the last 20 min of the game with his bench, as he does know that French players are not in match-fitness as much as English or Irish players. So the ongoing issue we have in France between the french board and the domestic championship is not an excuse.
And it looks that Trinh Duc was replaced because of a knock on his head. Some says Parra was replaced because he was exhausted, but i didn't see him exhausted...
The French starting XV was far better and should be kept for the rest of the 6Nations, hopefully.
And about Farrell, he got head to head with Huget (French 15) during the whole match.

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BenjaJ February 26, 2013 12:01 pm

Trinh Duc was not replaced because of knock on his head. He was himself surprised by this replacement.

Huget said after the match : "Farrell is a young player, he will be channeled. He came yelling at me, he insulted me. I told him to have respect. This is a young man who tries to be intimidating. I've seen worse".
I think Farrell had a bad game, except with the penalties. He was irritated, took bad decisions and he missed an easy cross-field kick (something he doesn't usually miss). Toby Flood really brought something, unlike Michalak.

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Rowan February 28, 2013 9:41 pm

Go to the whole match video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE1if9dKL58
At the 1hr 29minute mark (roughly) you can see the play where the French #22 gets called by Joubert in full. The way I see it, 23 makes the tackle, and does not allow England 14 a chance to place the ball as he stays on all fours on top of the tackled player before competing for the ball. That could be subjective though, and folks could disagree, but what I see as totally obvious is that when 23 does begin to compete for the ball there is already contact between him and England 15 (I think) which makes a ruck which is 1 player for each side competing over top of the ball. Contact is made before he gets his hand on the ball which means he is not entitled to grab it himself. As such that is penalty. You can clearly see in the replay that the England player is pushing into him before he gets his hand on the ball.

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kaibishin March 05, 2013 3:02 pm

Unlucky to France for the biased refing. But the French team haven't looked good during this tournament so the England win was expected. Whether a you think the outcome of the game was because of the ref or the players, this win is a sign that England will get the GRRRAAAANNNND SSSLLLLAAAAAAMMMM!!!!!!

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