Hawke's Bay Today
England ace their French test
Two rounds into the Six Nations, only two teams remain unbeaten. And they meet next. England ensured the showdown with Wales in two weeks in Cardiff will be extra spicy by crushing France 44-8 at Twickenham yesterday. Coach Eddie Jones promised England would be even better after demolishing reigning champions Ireland in Dublin on the opening weekend, and his side was merciless in its biggest win against France in 108 years. England have two hugely impressive bonus-point victories, and Wales have equalledtheir best winning streak of 11 from more than a century ago. “We’re playing the greatest Welsh side ever, so we’ll have to be at our absolute best,” Jones said. There seems little doubt England will be. Where England overwhelmed Ireland with power and pressure, this time they showed savvy and smarts to keep pickpocketing the French with chip kicks and grubbers and canny chasing. France’s decision to put two centres on the wings, and a wing at fullback, was ruthlessly exposed as three of England’s four tries in the first half came from expertly weighted kicks in behind the defence, where no blue jerseys were anywhere near. “It’s very painful when they score try after try,” France captain Guilhem Guirado said. “The pressure was constant and we never managed to get out of that.” By halftime, England had the bonus-point fourth try. Winger Jonny May had a hat-trick in the first half hour. May scored England’s first try after just 64 seconds, the third straight match he’s scored in the first two minutes. More remarkably, it was the fifth consecutive match England have scored in the first two minutes. Jones said, “Jonny May is like, when you go to the park, and you see a person with a tennis ball and they throw it, and the dog runs 100 mph and chases and brings it back. He does that pretty well.” Guirado was an unwitting culprit in England’s first two scores. His dropped catch started the counterattack in which fullback Elliot Daly weaved into French territory and kicked ahead for May then he was penalised for not rolling away. The last 25 minutes went scoreless, with Jones saying he was pleased England didn’t relax. His England had stepped up from smashing Ireland to achievetheir biggest win over France since a 37-0 result in 1911. Wales await.