Following a 44-8 win for England over France in their Six Nations encounter, here’s our five takeaways from the Twickenham clash on Sunday.
Classic France: Well that was abysmal from Les Bleus as they were brushed aside at Twickenham in a performance that will see them receive a hefty backlash from their national press on Monday morning. That opening to the game felt like they were still on the coach as England got into them from the off, running in three tries inside the first 29 minutes to lead 23-3, with a 30-8 buffer at the break ultimately the gap.
Slade continues to grow: We mentioned last week after the Ireland win that England appear to have a 10-12-13 they can build a serious Rugby World Cup challenge around and that was further emphasised on Sunday, with Owen Farrell, Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade all putting in strong performances. Farrell’s game management was out of the top drawer but what’s noticeable is the quality Slade offers in terms of decision-making and as a kicking option. His devastating step was also in evidence for his try as he left Guilhem Guirado flat footed. Classy shift.
Jonny being good: Speaking of rising stock and May’s standing in the global game moved up yet more rungs on the ladder on Sunday with that first-half hat-trick. His improvements over the past couple of years have been noticeable and he gives off a genuine hunger for work that’s symptomatic of this English side. Where does he now rank among the game’s wings? On this kind of form he has to surely be pushing the best.
TRY! May utilises the space in behind once again for @EnglandRugby and gets his hat-trick inside 30 minutes pic.twitter.com/g2f0krLzLa
— ITV Rugby (@ITVRugby) February 10, 2019
Smart, smart England: They identified a weakness and then applied the squeeze. Led by Farrell, England spotted the space in behind France’s wings and duly profited, with May alive to the open field as he grabbed his treble. It wasn’t just Farrell though who showed calmness in the frantic environment of Test rugby as Chris Ashton, Elliot Daly and Ben Youngs followed the captain’s example with the kicking option as a vocal and gesticulating May told them where he wanted it. Coaches want their players to take the initiative on the field and England’s backs certainly did that at Twickenham but not before their forwards once again dominated the collisions. England backed up Dublin and how.
Wales‘ run likely to come to an end: Welsh readers may scoff but, even with home field advantage in Cardiff, one struggles to see England going down at the Principality Stadium on February 23. It promises much as a spectacle as the two remaining unbeaten nations in this year’s Six Nations go toe-to-toe, but judging from these opening two games many will fancy England to end Wales’ 11-game streak of international wins.
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