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Rugby-England edge out France on points difference to win Six Nations

France, who started their campaign by beating England, were more efficient, scoring tries through Antoine Dupont, a penalty try, Virimi Vakatawa and Romain Ntamack, who also kicked the rest of the points. Ireland benefited from France's ill-discipline in the first half and Cian Healy, Robbie Henshaw and Jacob Stockdale scored their tries with the other points coming from the boot of Johnny Sexton plus a Ross Byrne conversion.

Reuters | Updated: 01-11-2020 04:01 IST | Created: 01-11-2020 04:01 IST
Rugby-England edge out France on points difference to win Six Nations

England were crowned Six Nations Champions for the third time in five years after they beat Italy 34-5 in Rome and France defeated Ireland 35-27 in Paris on Saturday. England won the tournament, which started in February and was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, on points difference from France after both teams finished on 18 points having won four matches each.

Ireland, who needed a bonus-point victory or a seven-point win in Paris, came third, Scotland fourth, Wales fifth and Italy were bottom of the standings. France, who started their campaign by beating England, were more efficient, scoring tries through Antoine Dupont, a penalty try, Virimi Vakatawa and Romain Ntamack, who also kicked the rest of the points.

Ireland benefited from France's ill-discipline in the first half and Cian Healy, Robbie Henshaw and Jacob Stockdale scored their tries with the other points coming from the boot of Johnny Sexton plus a Ross Byrne conversion. France, who had not finished second in the championship since 2011 and last won it in 2010, were lethal in the opening half despite enjoying little possession and coughing up eight penalties.

They were once again inspired by scrumhalf Dupont, who formed an impressive trio with flyhalf Ntamack and Gael Fickou, who had been shifted to the left wing in the absence of the injured Teddy Thomas. Dupont scored the first try for Les Bleus and set up Ntamack shortly after the restart in yet another commanding performance by the 23-year-old.

Vakatawa scored the bonus-point try with nine minutes left but two second-half Ireland tries meant the hosts' biggest advantage never grew above 15 points. France, who were also awarded a penalty try after Francois Croc was tackled without the ball, needed to win by 31 points after making sure they would end up with more tries than England.

Ireland were in the contest in the first half thanks to France's ill-discipline but their obsession for a bonus-point win - instead of trying to kick their way to a six-point victory - meant they reached halftime with a four-point deficit having scored only one try. France were more thorough after the break and their individual talents made the difference even though their concentration dropped on two occasions, which gave the visitors the chance to leave Paris with an honourable defeat.


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