A few too many vinos tonight for a detailed analysis, but at the end of the day, France cantered to this win. Too much class for England’s 10 man game. You’ll see lots of talk about how Farrell was great. Ignore it, they’re dreaming. He was actually pretty ordinary.
What was probably most surprising was how the France pack, weighing in at 131 stones vs the 140+ of England, more than held their own in the scrum by keeping low and driving the power through their ram-rod straight backs.
Where the French do have their monsters is in the centres; Jauzion and Traille both being 6’4″ powerful runners. Jauzion showed his naturally attacking flare by cutting back against the angle and past Farrell’s weaker shoulder to score the game’s only try. France also demonstrated the depth they have by rotating in 3 new back-rowers, all of world class. Chabal and Betsen, both standouts already this season, weren’t even on the bench.
With this game, France are starting to show that they will be very hard to beat, on home soil or not.
Pen: Elissalde 4, Michalak
Pens: Wilkinson 3
Yellow card(s): Shaw (England) – high tackle, 40
France: 15 Clément Poitrenaud, 14 Cédric Heymans 13 Damien Traille, 12 Yannick Jauzion, 11 Christophe Dominici, 10 Frédéric Michalak, 9 Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, 8 Imañol Harinordoquy, 7 Thierry Dusautoir, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Jérôme Thion, 4 Fabien Pelous, 3 Jean-Baptiste Poux, 2 Raphaël Ibañez (captain), 1 Olivier Milloud.
Replacements: 16 Sébastian Bruno, 17 Nicolas Mas, 18 Lionel Nallet, 19 Julien Bonnaire, 20 Pierre Mignoni, 21 David Skréla, 22 Aurélien Rougerie.
England: 15 Mark Cueto, 14 Josh Lewsey, 13 Dan Hipkiss, 12 Andy Farrell, 11 Jason Robinson, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Shaun Perry, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Tom Rees, 6 Martin Corry, 5 Steve Borthwick, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Phil Vickery (c), 2 George Chuter, 1 Perry Freshwater.
Replacements: 16 Lee Mears, 17 Matt Stevens, 18 Joe Worsley, 19 Lawrence Dallaglio, 20 Andy Gomarsall, 21 Olly Barkley, 22 Paul Sackey.
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Touch judges: Alan Lewis (Ireland), Nigel Owens (Wales)