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Monday Mar 21, 2016

England take the Grand Slam after beating France in Paris

England take the Grand Slam after beating France in Paris
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England claimed that elusive Grand Slam with a 31-21 victory over France in Paris on Saturday night, giving coach Eddie Jones the perfect start to his career with the new Six Nations champions. Catch up on a full highlights wrap below.

The 2015 Rugby World Cup hosts were famously knocked out at the group stages, but have turned things around since Jones has come on board, winning five straight matches.

This was their first Grand Slam since 2003, when they won the World Cup in Australia, when Jones was actually coach of losing finalists, the Wallabies.

It’s been an incredible few months for him, coming off an excellent RWC campaign with Japan, to turning his back on the Stormers to take up this role, to now winning the Championship unbeaten.

“I am very proud of the boys,” Jones said post match. “We weren’t at our best today, but we battled through and really deserved the victory. It is a great achievement by the team.

“I always had confidence in the team. I thought in the first half we sat back a little bit, and were probably more worried about the result than playing, and the second half we were much more positive in the way we played.

“The great thing is that the best is still ahead of us. We are only going to get better.”

France stayed in the game throughout as the excellent boot of Maxime Machenaud slotted seven penalties, but tries from Danny Care, Dan Cole and Anthony Watson, as well as 16 points from the boot of Owen Farrell, proved the difference on the night.

Wales vs Italy Highlights »
Ireland vs Scotland Highlights »

Highlights wrap in: French | Italian

French

Italian

35 Comments

  • drg
    8:22 PM 24/03/2016

    Well you're not incorrect, however I was referring to fans, rather than official positions....

    Reply
  • danknapp
    6:20 PM 24/03/2016

    Hartley: shoulder charges in his sleep. The man is clearly a monster.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    3:30 PM 24/03/2016

    Neutrality doesn't necessarily make you right! Unless you're the ref.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    3:27 PM 24/03/2016

    "The thing is, as someone said, English = Try, French = no try... neutral = erm..." Or, to put it another, more accurate way: English - Try, French = no try.. Neutral - aka the REFEREE = Quote: "they're side-by-side, the try is good".

    Reply
  • stroudos
    3:14 PM 24/03/2016

    That is exactly what happened here though isn't it? TMO tried to poke his nose in; Nige cut him off and said, "no, the try is good" and refused to see any more replays. Decisive, authoritative reffing.

    Reply
  • reality
    1:44 PM 24/03/2016

    My comment was centred around the fact that he's in front of Cole and literally has his arms and body wrapped around him to protect him from tacklers. Let's put it like this: if Vunipola had disappeared into thin air a second before the tackle would Guirado have tackled Cole? Yes. Did Vunipola act as a screen and prevent that tackle from being made? Quite clearly yes. I don't really understand where the doubts are.

    Reply
  • reality
    12:21 AM 23/03/2016

    I'm sorry but it's simply not true that there no was obstruction and Guirado just aimed for the wrong person. Go to 2.20 in the video above and you'll see clearly that Vunipola was blocking Cole from being tackled. Vunipola literally has his arms wrapped around Cole and his body in front of him at the moment the tackle is made. It really couldn't be any clearer. I don't even buy the bit about him thinking Vunipola was the receiver - Cole clearly had the ball, and even if Guirado picked the wrong guy, the obstruction is still there, as clear as day. Just because Nigel Owens is the best referee around doesn't make him perfect, and here he made a crap decision. And one point that a few commentators made was that it wasn't considered obstruction because there was another player immediately available to make the tackle and so the defending team didn't suffer as a result, which is complete nonsense.

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    4:35 PM 22/03/2016

    Stay safe Oliver!

    Reply
  • oliver
    3:20 PM 22/03/2016

    welsh or english, you know from a French point of view, that makes no difference at all? anyways I'd love to debate here as usual, but my french ass lives in brussels, we got other things going on right now. Congrats to the English team.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    1:22 PM 22/03/2016

    I'm with DrG. Guirado was lining Vunipola up for the hit, not Cole. He could have made a better hit on Cole had he been aiming for him. Therefore the 'obstruction' has no material outcome, and a try was awarded.

    Reply
  • oliver
    10:05 AM 22/03/2016

    Well, Reality IS a neutral...... Irish if I remember right?

    Reply
  • 45678
    11:26 PM 21/03/2016

    England were comfortably the best team in the world between mid 2000 -2003, bar fluffing our lines a few times to give the celts a morale boost. We've had f-all to cheer about since then, so let us bask in our "half baked, clearly average, but still better than the rest nh" glory for 5 mins. Thanks

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    9:03 PM 21/03/2016

    The media stuff is just a bit of banter... but it is quite telling of the new culture. In previous interviews you could see the England players rattling off responses from a pre-approved list. This time, he was asked what HE thought, not the management. England's greatest exports are polar opposites... football hooliganism, and a culture of apologising when it isn't your fault... It seems Mr. Jones has found a happy medium.

    Reply
  • hellraiser_rob
    7:51 PM 21/03/2016

    Great game, and a great grand slam for England, also much much better from the French. They probably aren't too far away from getting things back on track. I hate to be a negative nelly, but what on earth was the French director on with his camera angles, set pieces in particular were hard to follow. Was slightly disappointed by the whistling at Farrell, but probably didn't impact Also eddie butler, trying to finger Hartley for a no arms tackle when he was sparko!

    Reply
  • hellraiser_rob
    7:45 PM 21/03/2016

    RE: Spedding - Personally I think we made him and Vakatawa look good with poor kicking. They are huge fast units once they get going, but turn them around, and don't give them space to get up a run of steam and they are different players.

    Reply
  • hellraiser_rob
    7:41 PM 21/03/2016

    Yes I agree, Farrell was also shooting out of the line, meaning Nowell couldn't drift after Farrell missed.

    Reply
  • oldflyhalf
    7:09 PM 21/03/2016

    "in 2003 we had the best team in the world" ....ha, ha, ha ! no offence ! :)

    Reply
  • webs666
    5:42 PM 21/03/2016

    Agree with everything you said except the Nowell comment. His work rate is exceptional and he makes more hits than you realise. Against France he was out there by himself with next to no support and considering he had Vakatawa to deal with I think he held the fort well. Nowell was also leading the turnover count after the first two games somehow. Very hard worker he can't go. However he can drop to full back.

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    4:55 PM 21/03/2016

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsrHRuyvhkM 4:40 An almost identical thing happens here with Falatau's try. It could be argued that either Care lined up the wrong man or Tuperic managed to get in the way enough and not get pinged (you can see that he pretty much grabs Care here). Both times, tries were given. Also, Reality, I'm sorry but I'm not entirely sure what the whole "asking a fullback to tackle a right-head" point has to do with any of this?

    Reply
  • 45678
    4:32 PM 21/03/2016

    I think England under Jones have realised that we don't need to be liked. we don't need to seek acceptance from our opposition because we tried that and it didn't work. respect is a more fitting goal. we don't have total respect and don't deserve it yet, but we are starting to earn it As for being likeable, I've always thought it unfair to expect a sportsman to be at the top of their game and be witty and charming in interviews. ask Andy Murray - do you think he would have won more grand slams if he fine tuned his media interaction at an earlier age?

    Reply
  • drg
    3:58 PM 21/03/2016

    Congratulations to France for their efforts, they actually looked like a team with a lot of potential but stick lacking some finishing disciplines. Their handling was a bit sloppy at times, but they actually looked strong when they got it right. I'm not sure if they are close to having "it" or not, but they definitely looked to progress as the tournament went on, even if their results didn't. Contrary to some of the French fans, I thought France played better against Scotland and England than they did in their other games. Even though the results of the others went more their way. Well done to all teams though, thoroughly enjoyable 6N with some very attractive rugby by some...

    Reply
  • drg
    3:52 PM 21/03/2016

    I suppose the chalice of the cut conk has to be passed on at some point... I thought Farrell did very well at 12, he's still not a particularly likeable character yet.. but I like seeing the opportunities that are created by having a fast and attacking distributor at 10 (Ford) and a good distributor at 12. Farrell has more time to make his decision without it holding up the back line too much. Plus it's an extra thinking head, an extra kicker (although he took all the penalties etc) and you can always swap Farrell over to 10, only issue is if someone gets sleepy... unless you pick a 3rd 10, you won't have anyone fresh.

    Reply
  • drg
    3:43 PM 21/03/2016

    The thing is, as someone said, English = Try, French = no try... neutral = erm... To say it was a complete joke is wrong imo... Dreaming up a what if - IF Vunipola hadn't made ANY contact with Cole, yet was still tackled, I would say it's tough luck if Vunipola got smashed by Guirado, because he was running a dummy line. You can clearly see Guirado lined Vunipola up for the hit - this I believe was his downfall... I think Nigel Owens took the stance that Vunipola was to the side, but also that Guirado was not obstructed because he had at the initial point committed to tackling Vunipola, which as Mr 45678 stated, could actually result in a penalty anyway. Either way, it was a messy try and could definitely have gone either way, I wouldn't call it a complete joke or a terrible decision. Guirado was in no way preparing to line up Cole. It was a close call and could have gone either way.

    Reply
  • drg
    3:37 PM 21/03/2016

    Can only echo the above re: Nowell, he seems to have got caught in the middle and massively outnumbered due to the rest of his team. Also seemed to me that his channel was squashed quite a lot by drifting players.

    Reply
  • pwf1
    2:31 PM 21/03/2016

    I agree. I also think that Farrell now looks to be playing for the team rather than for himself. This has made a big difference, and again points to some smart coaching. I never thought I would be impressed with him as a 12, but looks to add another dimension which must be harder for the defences to pick when compared with a "run it straight at them" option.

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    1:48 PM 21/03/2016

    Much respect to Haskell for taking on the "bloody and battered" role. Steve Borthwick's influence is physical as well as mental... it's not an England team unless someone has a cut on their nose that never properly heals between games. Farrell too. His post match interview was almost cohesive in structure, much like the recent England back play, he made a statement, and was able to follow it up with a second phase of conversation. That is the Jones influence. He doesn't think too much before he speaks, and says what he means... no more pseudo motivational platitudes, prescribed responses or Footballerisms!!!

    Reply
  • dancarter
    1:13 PM 21/03/2016

    In his defence, I think Nowell was left isolated against Vakatawa and occasionally even outnumbered. He's had a good 6N otherwise.

    Reply
  • reality
    1:05 PM 21/03/2016

    That try was a complete joke. Clear obstruction. Even if there's another player ready to make the tackle, the first one has been taken out of the equation and so the defending team is a man down. And asking a fullback to tackle a tighthead who has built up a head of steam instead of the hooker who had lined him up doing it is not ok. Terrible, terrible decision from Owens.

    Reply
  • pwf1
    1:00 PM 21/03/2016

    I wasn't able to watch the match live, but having read all the reports in the next morning, I was expecting to see a fairly scratchy performance with the ref decisions going England's way. When I watched the recording, I thought Eng were pretty good. Yes there were flaws, but this is a young team. Nowell in particular looked exposed, but I'm not sure if this was him or the defensive system. The fact that they did not crumble under the pressure of the occasion speaks volumes for the coaches, who have instilled a player understanding and confidence in a very short time. Cole at last reigned it in and stopped giving away penalties. Haskell and Robshaw just seemed to disrupt a lot of French play. An the French backs looked too worried about the Eng defence to play. For Cole's try, I thought Nigel Owens got it right. His first reaction was a try, and when he went to the TMO he used it to confirm his decision immediately. Credit to him for making a decision and standing it.

    Reply
  • colombes
    12:47 PM 21/03/2016

    Well in any situations, free to run or immediately tackled, you are describing an obstruction of Vunipola... In fact, it was a double-foul by vunipola making contact with cole, and being barely in front. Anyway, the game wasn't necessarily lost here. An efficient England breaking the line 6 times, scoring 3 tries... France breaking 8 times, earning just penalties was the main cause.

    Reply
  • 45678
    12:36 PM 21/03/2016

    re: cole try - I think the guirado expected vunipola to receive a pass so lined him up. its only obstruction if the supporting player is in front. vunipola was side on. you could in theory penalise guirado for tackling a player without the ball? - I think the decision was correct (I appreciate my bias however!)

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    12:29 PM 21/03/2016

    In regards to Coles try, I think the reason it was awarded despite Mako being in the way is because Scott Spedding was there to attempt a tackle almost straight away, Cole was able to just ride the tackle and get over the line. If Cole had had a clear run with no resistance and it was clear that Guiardo was the only one who could have tried to stop him, then I don't think the try would have been awarded.

    Reply
  • colombes
    12:22 PM 21/03/2016

    Congrats england for the GS, a positive and deserved one. Eddie Jones brings a winning spirit to this team. They seemed to be kittens with Lancaster, wonder if they can become lions in 2019. Personally impressed by Vunipola, Itoje and Watson who all brings power, intelligence and speed. Also credit to Hartley for having been on the good side of rugby. I never thought i would say it.. Not so disappointed by this France defeat, regarding the level, the injuries and the agenda you won't find many french fans betting for a 6N in these days. Players are good, the intentions to play are clear, the mentality is better but Noves will never achieve miracles with the same poor french agenda. Time to put the selection at the centre of french rugby. The FFR elections in september will be crucial for a top14 agreement. Personally annoyed by Nigel Owens way to ref the 2nd english try. He firstly allowed it saying Vunipola was coming from the side. Then, pressured by Guirado and his touch judge, ask for a tmo. The video clearly shows Cole making contact with Vunipola, the same was barely in front Cole... Guirado not able to make the tackle... Owens could have rule out the try for both reasons but he stayed on his first idea. Surprising. what's your view?

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    12:21 PM 21/03/2016

    I hope it bodes well. The impact of Eddie is already noticeable and as happy as I am with the Grand Slam, we have to be honest and say that the true tests will come agains the Southern Hemisphere teams. Agreed about Haskell, he seems to be getting a lot of criticism which is feel unwarranted. It's nice to see Robshaw doing better but I'm wondering if maybe moving Haskell to 6 and then putting in a genuine fetcher like Kvesic at 7 would really give us an edge in the back row. Nowell can be great with ball in hand but I've noticed throughout the tournament that teams seem to make a lot of ground down his channel, France and Wales in particular. Perhaps time to give Rokoduguni a shout? Brown needs to find his 2014 form. As for Watson? It's great to think that he can only get better. Anyways. Was a great occasion and it was rather endearing to see all the players who have been part of the '2nd place' crowd over the past 4 years and the World Cup so happy. As for the French. You guys have so many great players, it'll be tense times if Guy Noves can get them to click. Vakatawa is such a menace.

    Reply
  • 45678
    11:26 AM 21/03/2016

    The most pleasing thing about this is that we know England have been playing some way from our potential and we will get better. In 2003 we had the best team in the world, so it was half expected. This team is young and developing and it bodes really well for the future Haskell was outstanding at the weekend. I lost count of the number of rucks he really made an impact. He's no great fetcher, but he was disruptive abrasive and deserves for more praise than "he's not a 7" Nowell was really poor, missed loads of tackles and looked off the pace Brown needs to work on his distribution. Too greedy and predictable and only passes when in the shit Would love a player like Scott spedding - he was awesome for the French

    Reply


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