England revived their hopes of landing the RBS 6 Nations title by claiming a first away victory over France in the tournament for eight years by virtue of a 24-13 win.
And fly-half Jonny Wilkinson was in world record-breaking form, slotting his 29th Test drop-goal as part of a 14-point haul.
Sporting Life reports that Wilkinson also booted three penalties and a conversion of wing Paul Sackey’s early try as England dashed French Grand Slam hopes to leave Wales leading the championship, while scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth claimed a late try.
France captain Lionel Nallet scored a first-half try, while centre Damien Traille kicked a conversion, 19-year-old scrum-half Morgan Parra and his replacement Dimitri Yachvili landed penalties, but England rarely lost control of the contest as they repeated their World Cup semi-final victory over Les Bleus last October.
England coach Brian Ashton denied his team were playing for their places in the side but admitted they had had to pull out a good performance under pressure.
He said: “It’s a bit strong saying that but they were under no illusions they had to put a performance in today.
“We needed to. We have played two half games and we needed to do a full one.”
Ashton admitted he was proud of the side’s response.
“I am very proud. I never had doubts with this group of players that they could respond and put on a performance like that.
“But there are things to work on. We came in at half-time ahead and felt we had hardly had any ball.
“We need to make it a bit easier for ourselves.”
Captain Phil Vickery was proud of the team but insisted they should perform that way every time they represent England.
Vickery said: “We knew we had to front up today and that is what we did. I am hugely proud of the team but let’s not get carried away. We were under a lot of pressure. But we should show that every game.
“We need to kick on now. Today everyone showed that but that should be every game. We set some standards today.”
Wigglesworth was clearly thrilled by his try-scoring debut, saying: “It was a great occasion, it is a wonderful setting and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We’re right back in it. We said we could still win it and nobody believed us but maybe now they will.”
Sharksworld Note: The Log as it stands now with all teams having played three matches.
Wales – 6
Ireland – 4
France – 4
England – 4
Italy – 0
Scotland – 0
It would be interesting to do a comparison of how the log would look if they were using the S14/HC points system. They currentlky still operate on the 2 for a win 1 for a draw and zero for a loss system.Tweet