British & Irish Lions 2021

3 things learned from France v England Six Nations match

2020-02-02 21:26
Eddie Jones (Getty Images)
Eddie Jones (Getty Images)

Paris - France beat England 24-17 in their opening match of this season's Six Nations on Sunday.

A look at three things we learned from the game:

Captain fantastic

Charles Ollivon celebrated his first match as France skipper with a barnstorming performance both in attack and defence. He scored his side's second try of the game after playing a crucial part in the build-up which saw Vincent Rattez break away unopposed. He kept his team's attack flowing with timely offloads and well-timed support lines and was clean in his lineout play. He made 14 tackles in a forward pack which dominated the collisions and close encounters and combined well with centre Gael Fickou to make numerous two-man hits.

England poor in attack

Unlike France's ability to find gaps and play with creativity England failed to spark with ball in hand. Eddie Jones' side made it into the opposition 22m six times by the 50-minute mark but failed to score a single point. The French defence, led by new coach Shaun Edwards, kept the visitors out and forced flyhalf George Ford to kick away possession as he ran out of ideas on more than one occasion. Their two tries came from some individual brilliance from Jonny May who crossed in the second half.

Super second rows

France's lock pair of South Africa-born Bernard le Roux and Paul Willemse put in defensive displays which led Les Bleus' charge. They made a combined 34 tackles as they halted England's one-dimensional narrow attack. Eddie Jones promised "brutality" from his side in the week and Le Roux and Willemse responded aggressively. Le Roux, the veteran member of the squad and the only one older than 30, showed he has plenty of years left at Test level. Willemse, who was left out of the Rugby World Cup squad, highlighted his quality and will be a fine example for uncapped second-row Boris Pau who came off the bench with 24 minutes to play.

Read more on:    england  |  france  |  six nations  |  rugby

 

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