French players celebrate their win at the end of the Six Nations match. (Source: Getty Images)
England fell to a narrow 24-17 defeat against France at the Stade de France in their opening game in the 2020 Six Nations, as Fabien Galthié’s era got off to the perfect start in Paris.
Inside five minutes, the hosts scored the opening try of the game as Vincent Rattez slid over the try line to give France a 5-0 lead against Eddie Jones’s side. This came after he took on the majority of the England side. Their lead was extended further as Ntamack converted and Galthié’s side went 7-0 up against the World Cup runners up, England.
Almost 20 minutes in and France once again scored a try, this time it was France captain Charles Ollivon, who slid over the England try line to give the hosts a 12-0 lead in Saint-Denis, once again Ntamack kicked the conversion to make the scoreline 14-0.
Before half time, referee Nigel Owens awarded a penalty to France, much to the delight of the French fans and Ntamack converted it to give Les Bleus a 17-0 lead against a stunned as well as a shocked England side.
Into overtime in the opening 40 minutes and England tried to cause a threat to the French try line, but France held up the England charge, by subsequently being awarded another penalty and the ball was kicked out of play by France.
H/T: France 17-0 England
Into the second half and within 14 minutes of the restart, France extended their lead once more as Charles Ollivon, slid over England’s try line despite the best efforts of Elliot Daly, who’s tackle ended up giving momentum to Ollivon, who gracefully touched the ball down as the hosts now took a 22-0 lead against what appeared to be a shell shocked England team. Following the try, Ntamack once again kicked the conversion to make it 24-0 to France and it looked like the match was over for Eddie Jones’ side.
Just before the hour mark, England scored their first try of the match as Jonny May chased down his own kick and then nudged the ball forward with his boot, before putting his hand on top of the ball on France’s try line. The TMO took a look at the May try to determine if the 29-year-old from Chiseldon had cleanly grounded the ball, and the try was awarded. Owen Farrell kicked the conversion, which meant that France now lead 24-7 in Paris.
With almost 15 minutes left, the visitors got their second try of the tie as May’s solo run from almost within his own half ended with England’s winger sprinting down the French right before cutting back inside and scoring his second try of the match to make the scoreline 24-12. Farrell once again converted and now the French lead 24-14.
Into overtime in the 80th minute and Eddie Jones’ side were awarded a penalty as France were penalised for collapsing the scrum. Farrell was on hand to take the kick, which flew between the posts, to bring England within seven points of their hosts. This also secured a losing bonus-point for England. Fabien Galthié’s new look French side held on to win against Eddie Jones’ side, who are seen as the favourites for this years Six Nations before a ball was even kicked.
F/T: France 24-17 England
England will look to put this defeat behind them when they take on long-term rivals Scotland at Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with the game starting at 16:45pm.
France will try to make it back to back wins when they take on Italy at the Stade de France on Sunday afternoon, with the game starting at 15:00pm.