Tricolores tortured at Twickers
11 Mar 2007
England shattered France’s Grand Slam ambitions with an emphatic 26-18 victory at Twickenham.
The shock result means the Six Nations title will only be decided on the last weekend of the competition.
France, Ireland and England all have six log points, with points differences of 42, 38 and 13 respectively. The Tricolores will play Scotland in Paris, Ireland travel to Rome to tackle Italy, while England go to Cardiff for a clash with Wales.
Having made 10 changes following their humilating defeat to Ireland at Croke Park, England looked like a different team on Sunday. The pack gave a much improved performance, especially in the line-out, while stand-in captain Mike Catt had a massive impact in his first Test appearance in a year.
Trailing 12-9 at the break, the home side took the lead on the hour mark when Catt ran around French hooker Raphael Ibanez and sent flyhalf Toby Flood away for the try. However, England’s continued indiscipline at the breakdown allowed Dimitri Yachvili to edge France back in front with two penalties in quick succession.
Flood left the field with a knee injury and was replaced by Shane Geraghty, who slotted his first three points in Test rugby after a strong break by winger David Strettle.
Geraghty set up England’s second try with 10 minutes remaining when he claimed the ball behind his 10m line, beat three defenders and passed to Catt, who couldn’t collect the pass. However, the ball went backwards to fellow midfielder Mike Tindall who grabbed the match-winner.
That gave England an eight-point cushion and although France spent the last few minutes in opposition territory they never looked like getting over the tryline.
England – Tries: Toby Flood, Mike Tindall. Conversions: Flood, Shane Geraghty. Penalties: Flood (3), Geraghty.
France – Penalties: David Skrela (3), Dimitri Yachvili (3).