France beat England 22-16 in Six Nations

Jeannie Matthews
March 12, 2018

Ireland are nine points clear at the summit ahead of next Saturday's final round.

Saturday's reverse in Paris came immediately after England's 25-13 defeat by Scotland and meant they had lost back-to-back matches under Jones for the first time since he took charge after the team's first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup. The good news for the Irish is that Jacob Stockdale can't stop running in tries, his double against Scotland taking his tally for this season's tournament to six. Trailing 14-3 at half-time, Scotland stayed in the hunt with a Blair Kinghorn try cancelling out a Conor Murray touchdown off a maul.

It was a day to remember for Rob Kearney as he produced a man-of-the-match performance from full-back.

Eddie Jones is facing his most hard period at the helm as his England team take on a dominant Ireland side following two successive Six Nations defeats, World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward says.

Woodward said the French "should have won much more comfortably save for some really bad execution and their decision to take off the half-backs who were bossing the game". Joe van der Flier will be delighted. The burly Toulon centre - who is built like a prop - had not played for his country for two years under Brunel's predecessor Guy Noves. Power is force times mass, and it's how quickly you can accelerate it.

"This will be week number eight but for some players it's only week two".

"It is just a tough period for us", Jones said.

"It very hard to adapt to global rugby".

"We didn't help ourselves in terms of the way we carried the ball".

We looked more comfortable in the wider channels than we did against Wales, and our defence from turnover was much better than it had been against the Italians. The game is changing a little bit and we have probably been slow to adapt to it.

Marc Aspland Chief Sports
Marc Aspland Chief Sports

Scotland upended England last time out but that was at Murrayfield. CJ Stander had 12 tackles and 12 ball carries. That's how I feel and that's how I see it. I thought he was super.

Former South Africa Under-20s star Stander swapped Super Rugby's Blue Bulls for Munster in 2012 after Springboks coaches told him he was too small to be a Test-match flanker.

The Fields of Athenry rang around the stadium as the second half got under way and the Irish crowd sensed that the game was one score away from being decided in their favour.

"We've a lot of big leaders", Best said.

"Winning the championship is fantastic but if we were to lose next week I think it would take away somewhat from what we have achieved so far", added the 19-times capped global. You have a go and you get penalised, so you don't want to go in again.

Owen Farrell during England's Six Nations clash with France.

A five-metre scrum, the last play of the half and Ireland itching for any kind of control and Ringrose not only set the platform, but also looped around Aki on the next phase, before sending Stockdale in for his and Ireland's second score.

"Let's keep our feet on the ground because we know where we're coming from", said Machenaud.

"It's very muted upstairs".

"It's very muted upstairs - it's a odd feeling to win the Championship with a game to go", Sexton said.

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