Owen Farrell said sloppy England only had themselves to blame for an error-strewn 24-17 defeat to France in their first game of the Six Nations.
France made a dream start to the Fabien Galthie era at Stade de France, though England gave them a huge helping hand on a wet Sunday in Paris.
The Rugby World Cup runners-up dominated possession and territory, but a double from new captain Charles Ollivon after Vincent Rattez’s early try and nine points from the boot of Romain Ntamack put clinical Les Bleus 24-0 up.
A brace of sublime solo tries from Jonny May set the nerves jangling, yet England could only muster a bonus point courtesy of Farrell’s penalty with the last kick of the game.
Fired-up France were magnificent in defence, but it might have been a different story had Eddie Jones’ not been guilty of 23 handling errors and captain Farrell had no excuses for a poor start to the tournament.
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 2, 2020
“They scored tries off a couple of our mistakes, we had the ball in our own half too much, we made too many mistakes and they capitalised.” he told BBC One.
“They got a foothold, we kind of paused, we had a bit more in the second half but that’s not the way we want to defend.
“It’s not due to mental fatigue, we were excited to get together and we have to get excited about playing Scotland next week.
“They were more aggressive from the word go, the second half was a bit better but we left ourselves with too much to do.”
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