|Great Britain (3) 10|
|Attempt: steward Disadvantage: blacksmith Pen: blacksmith|
|France (27) 53|
|Try: Ramos, Flament 2, Ollivon 2, Penaud 2 Disadvantages: Ramos 6 Pencils: ramos 2|
France put on a reckless performance to send England to their heaviest home defeat and keep their Six Nations title defense alive with a win in seven tries.
Thomas Ramos scored France’s first try before Thibaud overcame Flament from close range.
Charles Ollivon added a third to put France 24 points clear at the break.
Freddie Steward crossed but Flament and Ollivon did it again and Damian Penaud scored twice as England suffered their third-biggest defeat in their history.
A win by the full five points means France will carry the title race into final weekend, regardless of Ireland’s result against Scotland on Sunday.
France, who have not won the Six Nations at Twickenham since 2005, showed exactly why they are world number two and one of the favorites to win the World Cup on home soil in six months.
Meanwhile, England’s title challenge is humiliatingly over, meaning this is the first Six Nations season in which they have lost two home games.
And it’s a stark reminder of the work they must put in to catch the best teams in the world.
And it could get even worse when Ireland take on the Grand Slam pursuers of the world number one in Dublin next weekend.
Pre-game optimism quickly fades as England’s weaknesses are exposed
There was a noticeable excitement as the England fans headed to Twickenham and Marcus Smith was given the chance to pilot the ship following his superb performance for Harlequins over the same blades of grass last weekend in the flypast half.
Smith got the nod in place of experienced Owen Farrell, who dropped to the bench hoping it would ignite the English attack.
But you could still feel the heat from the pyrotechnics in the stadium before the game as Ramos scored the opening goal in the first minute on his third try of the tournament.
France sniffed an opportunity and quickly threw the ball wide for the full-back to clear. It was a sign of what was to come.
Flament had a short run-up before charging for a low pass to carry three white shirts over the line for the second and Ollivon carried Smith on his back for the third moment.
The game could not be seen at half-time and England had barely put on a glove when they went down at home with their biggest half-time deficit of all time.
World-class Dupont exposes England’s mistakes
The hosts must have heard the stern words of Steve Borthwick and his staff as they went into the second half like a different team.
Smith’s Crossfield kick nearly reached Max Malins before Steward used all his strength to crack near the posts. Alex Mitchell had come on from the bench and immediately brought pace to the English attack when Smith began to demand the ball.
The volume went up a notch, but France showed the clinical edge their hosts lacked and the influence of world-class player Antoine Dupont was beginning to make itself felt.
The France captain pushed the ball over the English defense allowing Romain Ntamack to score the bonus point on Flament and England’s fire was quenched.
More boot to ball in the swirling rain and more white shirts running backwards. This time Smith collected the ball deep in English territory before being dragged down when Ollivon claimed loose ball for try number five.
England had thrown in the towel, but France wanted to add to their misery. Gael Fickou’s crossfield kick accidentally rebounded for Penaud and then it was a race between the wing and Alex Dombrandt with just one winner.
Penaud was over again shortly after, having secured a flat pass to run England’s noses into it on the seventh try.
England: Steward; Malins, Slade, Lawrence, Watson; Smith, Van Poortvliet; Genge (captain), George, Sinckler; Itoye, chess; Ludlam, Willis, Dombrandt.
Substitute: Walker, M. Vunipola, Cole, Ribbans, B. Curry, Mitchell, Farrell, Arundell.
France: ramos; Penaud, Fickou, Danty, Dumortier; Ntamack, Dupont (Captain); Baille, Marchand, Aldegheri, Flament, Willemse, Cros, Ollivon, Alldritt.
Substitute: Mauvaka, Wardi, Falatea, Taofifenua, Macalou, Lucu, Moefana, Jaminet.