London - Jonny
May ran in a first-half hat-trick of tries as England thrashed France
44-8 at Twickenham on Sunday to make it two wins from two this year's
Kicks behind the French defence on a rainswept pitch proved the
visitors' undoing, with May repeatedly tormenting opposing wing Damian
England's 36-point margin of victory was only just shy of their
largest against Les Bleus - a 37-0 win in France's first match at
Twickenham back in 1911.
May opened the scoring in the second minute as England, for the fifth Test in a row, had a try inside the first three minutes.
And the half ended with outside centre Henry Slade crossing for England's fourth try to leave them in complete command at 30-8.
This victory followed England's 32-20 win away to reigning champions
Ireland last week and was another impressive display ahead of this
year's World Cup.
For France, who will be one of England's pool opponents at Japan
2019, it was their second straight defeat this Championship after they
squandered a 16-0 half-time lead in a 24-19 loss to Wales in Paris.
Jacques Brunel, the France coach, made six changes to his starting XV
following that match but this humiliation meant his side had now lost
10 of their last 13 Tests.
Barely had the anthems finished when France's bid for a first Six
Nations win at Twickenham since 2005 was rocked by May's opening try.
France captain Guilhem Guirado knocked on and England fullback
Elliot Daly, recovering the loose ball, cut a line through the visitors
defence before putting in a clever angled kick behind the cover and into
the in-goal area.
May, surging past Penaud, touched down to make it 5-0.
England captain Owen Farrell missed the tough conversion from but the
flyhalf soon added a penalty before France scrum-half Morgan Parra
kicked one of his own before a 40-metre Farrell penalty made it 11-3.
France started to get into the game but their cause was not helped
when, near the England line, hooker Guirado missed his intended jumper
by throwing the ball over the top of a line-out.
Daly continued to test Penaud, the son of former France flyhalf
Alain Penaud, with well judged grubber kicks behind the defensive line
as England advanced into the visitors' 22.
And after sustained forward pressure Farrell's cut-out pass found May
who, one-on-one with not much room to play with against Penaud, beat
the Frenchman all too easily for another try in the left corner.
Farrell's conversion hit the post but England were 16-3 up.
And May clinched his hat-trick in the 30th minute when Parra knocked
on a high ball and a clever kick from fellow wing Chris Ashton, making
his first Championship start in six years, saw him sliding in again.
This time Farrell kicked the conversion and England were almost out of sight at 23-3.
France did capitalise on a rare slip by England when full-back Yoann
Huget burst through several tackles before sending Penaud in for a try
at the right corner, with Parra missing the conversion.
But England had a bonus point try on the stroke of half-time.
This time a kick through from scrumhalf Ben Youngs found Ashton in a
huge amount of space an although the former Toulon star was hauled down
short of the line, the ball came back to Slade, who cut inside for a
France's day went from bad to worse in the 50th minute when they were
reduced to 14 men as Gael Fickou was yellow-carded for tackling Ashton
without the ball near the tryline - an incident that also saw
experienced referee Nigel Owens award a penalty try that extended
England's lead to 37-8.
Following a touchline flare-up, Farrell chased up his own kick as
England scored yet another try by putting the ball behind a powerful but
Tries: May (3), Slade, penalty try, Farrell
Conversions: Farrell (3)
Penalties: Farrell (2)