Rugby-Ruthless France give England record Twickenham mauling
England flyhalf Marcus Smith kicked a penalty to get the hosts on the scoreboard but France flanker Ollivon surged over to stretch the visitors' lead before the interval. Smith, picked ahead of regular captain Owen Farrell, failed to get his team firing as the hosts made a slew of handling errors and gave away a succession of penalties to halt what little momentum they had.
Rampant France ran in seven tries to overwhelm a ragged England 53-10 on Saturday, their biggest ever win over the English and first in the Six Nations at Twickenham for 18 years. Tries by fullback Thomas Ramos, lock Thibaud Flament and flanker Charles Ollivon gave the visitors a 27-3 halftime lead. England hit back with a Freddie Steward try but Flament and Ollivon both crossed again before winger Damian Penaud added two late scores as the shell-shocked hosts wilted in the driving rain. France also stayed in contention to win this year's title ahead of their final game against Wales, climbing to second in the standings behind Ireland with England fourth.
"It was a very special game for us and we tried to make it count," Flament told ITV. "We said in the week we needed this game. "It was great to score. I was in the right place at the right moment, I am glad we won and it was a challenge at halftime to play like this for the whole game. We are in a good place."
France struck in the second minute with a slick passing move finished off in the corner by fullback Ramos and Flament barged over the line from close range following a lineout to extend their lead to 17-0. England flyhalf Marcus Smith kicked a penalty to get the hosts on the scoreboard but France flanker Ollivon surged over to stretch the visitors' lead before the interval.
Smith, picked ahead of regular captain Owen Farrell, failed to get his team firing as the hosts made a slew of handling errors and gave away a succession of penalties to halt what little momentum they had. Steward forced his way over soon after the interval to give England faint hopes of a comeback but fatal indecision allowed Flament to pick up a loose ball and steam over for his second try in the 57th minute.
SCYTHED THROUGH Ramos scythed through to set up the fifth French try, Smith scrambling back to retrieve the ball near the line but unable to stop Ollivon touching down.
Farrell was sent on to try to bolster England's defence but they rarely threatened to reduce the deficit and it was France who struck again. A fine kick by Gael Fickou set up Penaud to stroll over the line and with the hosts in disarray the winger quickly added his second try down the right.
As fans streamed out of the stadium, Smith made a searing break to set up the opportunity of a consolation score but England conceded another soft penalty and France were left to celebrate a statement win ahead of this year's World Cup which they are hosting. It was England's third heaviest ever defeat in coach Steve Borthwick's fourth game in charge.
"I am not going to sugar coat it," England captain Ellis Genge said. "That is one of our worst performances and we were punished numerous times. We asked the boys to keep fighting and I think for 80% of it we were fighting. "The momentum, it was against us for too long, we didn't claw it back. I am not hiding away from it, we were well beaten today."
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