England 10-53 France LIVE! Six Nations 2023 result, match stream, reaction after heaviest Twickenham loss

England vs France LIVE!

England were humiliated by rampant France in a hopelessly one-sided Six Nations drubbing on Saturday. The Red Rose suffered their heaviest home defeat of all-time at Twickenham and third-heaviest anywhere in the world on a truly sobering evening for Steve Borthwick’s side, who shipped seven tries in total in an absolute horrow show.

Thibaut Flament, Charles Ollivon and Damian Penaud all notched braces for France, who got a very early score from the sublime Thomas Ramos as they won by a staggering 43 points, 53-10. It ended their Twickenham hoodoo in some style, having picked up a first Six Nations win at the home of English rugby since all the way back in 2005 to give their title hopes a boost ahead of the final weekend.

For Borthwick and Co, the post-mortem will be excruciating as they look to recover quickly ahead of a daunting trip to face Ireland in Dublin in round five. Follow England vs France reaction live below, with expert analysis from Nick Purewal at Twickenham!

England vs France latest news

  • England embarrassed in heaviest-ever home defeat

  • Nick Purewal’s match report

  • Steve Borthwick: England were exposed

  • Ellis Genge: England ‘way off’ where we want to be

  • England player ratings after humiliating loss

Dupont struggles to believe France dominance

20:42 , George Flood

France’s all-star captain Antoine Dupont admitted earlier he had “trouble realising what we did when I look at the scoreboard”.

He added: “We’ll be tired tomorrow but it’s always easier to recover after such a big win.”

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Thomas Ramos reaction

20:38 , George Flood

A quick word from the man of the match...

“We wanted to play a big game today and that’s what we did. It’s our biggest performance in a while.”

Tearful Galthie revels in France destruction

20:36 , George Flood

France head coach Fabien Galthie had tears in his eyes as he reflected on a monster performance from France to seal their first Six Nations win at Twickenham since 2005.

“Yes I realise [what we’ve done]. I’ve been coming here since I was 20,” he said.

“We played the way we wanted to play... We didn’t know exactly how but we had that drive. And doing it here, in this context...

“It didn’t happen by chance. We’ve been working together with these players. It shows we’re on the right path.

“It’s tough for them when you know how important rugby is in England.”


Flament: France are in a good place

20:34 , George Flood

Here’s one of France’s three double-try scorers, Thibaud Flament, speaking to ITV earlier on...

“It was a very challenging week. We were very excited to come out here today,” he said.

“It was a very special game for us and we tried to make it count. We said in the week we needed this game.

“It was great to score. I was in the right place at the right moment, I am glad we won and it was a challenge at half-time to play like this for the whole game.

“We are in a good place, we know this tournament can be won on the last game.”

England player ratings

19:37 , George Flood


Jack Walker (for Lawrence, 60’) 4

On too late to make anything happen.

Mako Vunipola (for Genge, 64’) 4

Tried to restore some pride but it all fell apart.

Dan Cole (for Sinckler, 64’) 4

Impossible for the subs as the match disintegrated.

David Ribbans (for Dombrandt, 74’) 4

Had no time to make any impact.

Ben Curry (for Willis, 53’) 5

Stole one fine turnover but could not force things afterwards.

Alex Mitchell (for Van Poortvliet, 45’) 5

Pushed the pace initially before England collapsed.

Owen Farrell (for Slade, 45’) 5

The regular captain is simply not a Test match 12.

Henry Arundell (for Malins, 58’) 5

Put himself about but could have done with some ball.

England player ratings

19:36 , George Flood


Ellis Genge 5

This man deserved so much more than this for his first outing as captain.

Jamie George 4

Struggled to get his game going in any area.

Kyle Sinckler 5

Solid in the scrum for the most part but England were battered in the loose.

Maro Itoje 4

Another quiet game by his lofty standards.

Ollie Chessum 4

Could not impose himself on the rampant French pack.

Lewis Ludlam 4

Completely outgunned at the breakdown.

Jack Willis 4

Failed to get a toe-hold on the game at the ruck.

Alex Dombrandt 4

Must have hated being moved to outside centre, but had struggled earlier in any case.

England player ratings

19:36 , George Flood


Freddie Steward 6

A rare decent performance, undone by being blocked to a key ball but left with pride intact.

Max Malins 5

Struggled to get into the game despite several early involvements, unluckly not to score.

Henry Slade 5

Failed to make anything happen but had preciously little to work with.

Ollie Lawrence 4

Could not get on the front foot with England bested up front.

Anthony Watson 4

Quiet by his standards, battled hard but had precious few chances to make anything happen.

Marcus Smith 5

Did what he could with what he had, but what he had was not nearly good enough.

Jack van Poortvliet 4

Failed to take control at the base of the ruck in a messy performance.

Nick Purewal’s match report

19:34 , George Flood

Here’s Nick Purewal’s take on a truly dismal evening for England...

England arrived for Steve Borthwick’s first acid test against France and left wishing they could hide all the litmus paper.

England suffered their heaviest-ever Twickenham defeat, had to spend almost 20 minutes with a forward in the centres – and lost any shred of stability in new boss Borthwick’s nascent tenure.

The boos would have been deafening on the final whistle of this 53-10 hammering, but by that time the ground was already half-empty.

The corridors of RFU power will be a lonely place this week. Chief executive Bill Sweeney carries the can for England’s current predicament, whoever recommended Eddie Jones’ sacking.

Damian Penaud ran in two tries in three minutes in the dying embers to snuff out every England flame. Thibaud Flament crossed twice, so did Charles Ollivon and the excellent Thomas Ramos claimed a try to boot.

Click here to read the match report in full


Borthwick: England were exposed

19:14 , George Flood

Here’s a despondent Steve Borthwick talking to ITV...

"Certainly you have to give immense credit to France and they are clearly a world-class team. For us we are really disappointed in that performance, there are lots of things we wanted to do but but we couldn't execute,” he said.

"I think we lost collisions across both lines, attack and defence. We knew they have immense power and unfortunately we didn't deal with it. When we attacked they were able to dominate. There is plenty of work on the collision areas.

"We got exposed today. I thought we would get a measure of where we are at, there is a big gap between us and the top teams in the world. I don't think it matters what I thought it [the gap] was before, I think we understand where we are and what we have to do."

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Genge: England are ‘way off’ where we want to be

19:05 , George Flood

Credit to Ellis Genge, who fronted up quickly to the ITV cameras after seeing such a memorable day for him personally wrecked by such a horrendous result.

“I am not going to sugar-coat it,” he said. “That is one of our worst performances and we were punished numerous times. We asked the boys to keep fighting and I think for 80 per cent of it we were fighting.

“The momentum, it was against us for too long, we didn’t claw it back. I am not hiding away from it, we were well beaten today.

“They are brilliant, they have shown time and time again why they are the number two team in the world. We are way off where we want to be.

“If I had the answers I would be somewhere else earning millions. It is a bit of a mystery at the moment. We probably have to be better in the contact area which is on the forwards.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

19:02 , George Flood

Just the small matter of a trip to Dublin to face relentless, Grand Slam-chasing Ireland last up for England.

Another hammering beckons if they don’t quickly clean up their act.

Nick Purewal at Twickenham

18:34 , George Flood

England’s heaviest-ever Twickenham defeat asks searing questions of the entire RFU hierarchy.

Twickenham was half-empty by the time the final whistle blew on England’s seven-try shaming.

The corridors of power will be a lonely place in the coming weeks.


18:34 , George Flood

England 10-53 France

England’s heaviest home defeat ever and third-heaviest anywhere in the world is greeted by boos by the few fans that have stayed until the end.

Majestic France end their Twickenham hoodoo with a first Six Nations win here since 2005 - and in remarkable style with seven tries in total... and it could have been more.

I’m not sure I can quite believe what I’ve just seen. An absolute horrow show for Borthwick so early in his reign, from start to finish.

Pressure piled on Ireland for their trip to Murrayfield tomorrow - France still in with a title chance. England obviously not!


18:32 , George Flood

77 mins: England’s wretched day is summed up late on as they can’t even grab a consolation, the ball held up at the last.

Watch: Penaud completes quick-fire brace

18:31 , George Flood

Watch: Penaud piles on more England misery

18:31 , George Flood

18:29 , George Flood

75 mins: David Ribbans is on for Dombrandt for shell-shocked England. His painful stint in the centres is mercilessly at an end.

France replace fly-half Ntamack with Melvyn Jaminet, into the squad today due to an injury to Matthieu Jalibert.

TRY! England 10-53 France | Damian Penaud 75’

18:27 , George Flood

75 mins: What do you even say at this point?!

Another sublime attacking move from France off the lineout, with the ball a blur as it is moved quickly through the hands out right and finished off by Penaud in the corner for his quick-fire second.

A rare conversion missed by Ramos, so it’s just the 43-point lead for now!

Disgusted home fans continue to stream out of the Twickenham exits.

I think this will be England’s heaviest-ever home defeat and third-heaviest of all time.

Completely dominated from start to finish today.


TRY! England 10-48 France | Damian Penaud 72'

18:23 , George Flood

72 mins: Try number six for irresistible France! How much worse will this get?!

Damian Penaud gets a fortunate bounce and breezes beyond the out-of-position Dombrandt, who is hopelessly mismatched after fine vision and a terrific kick from Gael Fickou.

Dombrandt’s lunging tap-tackle attempt can’t knock the Clermont wing off his stride.

The conversion is made again by Ramos, who seemingly can’t miss today. Utterly, uttery miserable for England.


18:22 , George Flood

70 mins: England are working hard in search of a consolation here.

They chase at full pelt and earn a penalty in front of the posts, but they just still can’t make it happen.

Their lineout is then an absolute mess and it’s another chance gone. Itoje and Ludlam with the errors.

18:21 , George Flood

This was that brilliant play from Dupont, by the way.

He’s now gone off. Maxime Lucu on.

Watch: Ollivon gets second try after TMO check

18:20 , George Flood

18:19 , George Flood

65 mins: Quite some performance from the fit-again Danty today in that French midfield.

Yoram Moefana on now.

18:18 , George Flood

65 mins: England change both of their props.

Genge and Sinckler off as Dan Cole and Mako Vunipola enter the game.

All the best with this one, lads.

No hope for these England subs.

18:17 , George Flood

63 mins: Peato Mauvaka, Reda Wardi and Sekou Macalou are all on for France, replacing Marchand, Baille and Ollivon.

Utterly superb play from Dupont a moment ago, collecting his own brilliant kick from the 22 and weaving his way effortlessly up-field with supreme poise.

He really is some talent.

He then aims another great kick in behind England’s scrambled defence despite losing his footing and Smith has to touch back behind his own line.

18:15 , George Flood

63 mins: By the way, England have also lost OIlie Lawrence to injury, to further rub salt into the wound.

But they have already brought on all of their backline subs in Mitchell, Farrell and Arundell.

They have to send on replacement hooker Jack Walker and number eight Dombrandt is set for a spell in the centres along with Farrell. Yikes.

An absolute nightmare this for Borthwick in every way.

Watch: Flament registers second try for France

18:13 , George Flood

18:12 , George Flood

61 mins: Henry Arundell came on for England a few minutes ago, in place of Malins.

The despondent hosts desperately need the London Irish speedster to give them some sort of lift in the final 20 minutes.

TRY! England 10-41 France | Charles Ollivon 60'

18:09 , George Flood

60 mins: The try is given! Farrell, who has taken over captain’s duties, is incensed.

Should Smith have taken the ball over his own line there?

He couldn’t keep hold of it under massive pressure from Dupont and an opportunistic Ollivon touched it down amid a mass of bodies.

The ball was available and England could have cleared it, but France were one step ahead once again.

A truly torrid afternoon for England just gets worse and worse. A brilliant conversion from Ramos takes him up to 21 points for the evening.

41 points for France and counting, and five tries. Wow.


18:07 , George Flood

59 mins: France may well have scored again here, with Smith put under enormous pressure from a racing Dupont after Ramos’ kick.

Smith tries desperately to cling onto the ball as he’s driven back over his own line in the wet!

The ball goes loose and Ollivon looks to have touched it down.

The on-field decision is try. They will need compelling evidence to overturn this...

TRY! England 10-34 France | Thibaud Flament 58'

18:05 , George Flood

58 mins: France re-assert their dominance with a bonus-point try.

Dupont causes havoc with a smart little box-kick into space and Ntamack beats both Steward and Lawrence after a kind bounce to knock the ball back to Flament.

The superb lock then steps Malins and goes over for his second try of the day.

Ramos adds the extras. The French lead is back up to 24 and that has really knocked the stuffing out of Twickenham.

There was a key chance for a turnover missed by Smith in the build-up to that try.


18:02 , George Flood

55 mins: Quite a tempo to this game now as France go over the lineout once again to Fickou, who crashes into the collision with Smith and Curry.

England eventually claim a loose ball after some powerful Les Blues carries and Mitchell is able to clear into touch.

Another blue wave on the way...

Watch: Steward scores first England try

18:01 , George Flood

17:59 , George Flood

53 mins: Another England mistake halts their momentum - this time a neck roll from Willis at the breakdown.

That’s his last action of the game as the Toulouse flanker makes way for Ben Curry.

17:59 , George Flood

52 mins: Another roar of triumph from England as Genge puts on massive pressure at the scrum and France are whistled for not driving straight.

But they somehow miss touch with the penalty and France are able to quickly return it out of play near the halfway line.


17:57 , George Flood

50 mins: A change in the French front row as Sipili Falatea replaces Aldegheri at tighthead.

Romain Taofifenua also replaces Willemse at lock.

TRY! England 10-27 France | Freddie Steward 48'

17:54 , George Flood

48 mins: Much more like it from England!

They’ve been getting plenty of up-tempo, front-foot ball since Mitchell’s introduction and it pays off handsomely there as they work through the phases in the French 22.

France switch off in defence for the first time, Steward runs a great line and barrels right over Ramos before dotting down with Danty and Cros all over him.

Despite Farrell’s introduction, Smith keeps the kicking duties and adds the simple conversion.

Boy how England needed that.

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)


17:52 , George Flood

45 mins: It’s a knock-on as the ball was under his arm.

So close to a sublime England try.

Owen Farrell is coming on for the hosts now.

But Smith still on - it’s Slade who goes off. Farrell into the centres with Smith staying at fly-half.

Borthwick also changes his scrum-half with Van Poortvliet making way for Alex Mitchell.

17:50 , George Flood

45 mins: That is staggeringly good from a sliding Malins if he’s managed to bring in that Smith cross-field kick with one hand and touch it down in the sopping wet conditions.

He’s onside from the TMO check, but did he lose possession?

17:49 , George Flood

43 mins: That needless France error gives England an injection of impetus, with Smith orchestrating the attack as they get quick ball inside the 22.

A familiar move off the back of the scrum as they look to get Slade through.

However, the ball later goes loose after a hit on Slade and England are driven back again.

But they were playing with an advantage after an infringement by Aldegheri.

17:46 , George Flood

41 mins: A superb kick from Steward gets held up in the wind and puts Ramos in all sorts of bother, eventually bobbling out on the edge of the French 22.

French hooker Marchand throws short to Willemse, but he was outside the line and that’s a turnover.

Really sloppy from France. Van Poortvliet with the put-in at the scrum.

Second half

17:43 , George Flood

Back underway at Twickenham, where the rain has stopped falling... for now.

A huge response needed from England.

17:41 , George Flood

A record deficit in a home Six Nations match for England at half-time.

Just brutal.

A huge mountain to climb from here. What does Steve Borthwick say to get a reaction?

Nick Purewal at Twickenham

17:36 , George Flood

Ellis Genge is not happy with France’s breakdown work, but referee Ben O’Keeffe has preciously little interest.

Genge might have a point, at a stretch, but it will be up to England to stop France dominating the ruck.

This is the first genuine acid test under Borthwick. So far, so bad at half-time.

Watch: Ollivon scores on stroke of half-time

17:36 , George Flood


17:30 , George Flood

England 3-27 France


England totally and utterly outplayed in soaking wet conditions at Twickenham.

France sublime and in complete control, with tries from Ramos, Flament and Ollivon.

This could get really out of hand.


TRY! England 3-27 France | Charles Ollivon 41'

17:29 , George Flood

41 mins: An absolute disaster for England as France score again with the clock in the red at the end of the first half.

It’s supreme number-eight play from Alldritt, who keeps possession of the ball perfectly at the back of the scrum and then peels off into space at the opportune moment.

He has brilliant awareness to tee up Ollivon, who gets his head down, motors forward and drives over.

Ramos adds the extras. France have been fantastic and lead by 24 points at the break.

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

17:26 , George Flood

39 mins: Wonderful feet from Smith to gather a loose ball in the difficult conditions and weave his way forward, before getting smoked in the tackle.

But England get quick ball and move it left through the hands, only for a knock-on from Dombrandt to halt a promising attack with numbers out wide.

France put-in at another scrum.

17:25 , George Flood

37 mins: Another England kick is too deep, Malins hauls down Ramos and England ship their eighth penalty of this first half already.

France kick to touch midway inside the English half, sensing another key opportunity to extend their advantage further before the interval.

England have to find their discipline to prevent this getting properly ugly.

17:23 , George Flood

36 mins: A break for England as Willis charges down an attempted clearing kick.

But they end up conceding yet another penalty at the breakdown - superb work from big number eight Alldritt to get his hulking frame over that ball almost instantly.

PENALTY! England 3-20 France | Thomas Ramos 35'

17:22 , George Flood

35 mins: Those three points are quickly wiped out by Ramos, who sneaks a kick inside the far post after some superb French counter-rucking led by Willemse forces England to play the ball on the deck.

PENALTY! England 3-17 France | Marcus Smith 33'

17:20 , George Flood

33 mins: England are finally on the board, seven minutes before half-time as Danty is whistled for offside as he zooms around to put a hit on Van Poortvliet as the scrum-half tried to tame a bobbling ball out the ruck.

Genge was deep in conversation with referee Ben O'Keeffe before that kick. He’s clearly unhappy with some of the decisions in this lopsided first half.

Watch: Flament try piles on England misery

17:17 , George Flood

17:17 , George Flood

30 mins: Another big England chance goes awry as a lineout error deep inside the French 22 costs them any chance of hitting back.

But then Itoje does brilliantly a few moments later to haul down the French carrier after their own lineout to force a knock-on and earn the put-in at the scrum.

Nick Purewal at Twickenham

17:15 , George Flood

Antoine Dupont skins Maro Itoje at the ruck fringes, then dinks into the corner for a 50:22 to hand France the lineout deep in England territory.

England cannot cope with his excellence and variety. The eventual Flament try was soft, but the tee-up was world-class.

TRY! England 0-17 France | Thibaud Flament 26'

17:13 , George Flood

26 mins: The French pressure tells once again!

England manage to stop the rolling maul, but France quickly reset with a tidy carry from Danty.

Their forwards flood back across and impressive Flament is teed up perfectly to bulldoze through two white shirts and go over.

Ramos makes an easy conversion in front of the posts. France up 17-0 before the half-hour mark at Twickenham.

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

17:11 , George Flood

24 mins: There’s a costly mix-up between Van Poortvliet and Steward back deep for England and the ultra-clever Dupont spots it, then booms into touch with a perfect 50:22 kick.

France with a lineout deep inside the England 22...

17:10 , George Flood

22 mins: Steward with a crucial clearance into touch under pressure for England, after France had looked dangerous again with Penaud trying a kick in behind that was scooped up just before the line by a sliding Smith.

Nick Purewal at Twickenham: France have put more pressure on England’s ruck ball than anyone else in this tournament, and so far Steve Borthwick’s men cannot find any answers.

England have wasted two visits to the France 22, and Fabien Galthie’s men are deservedly in control heading into the second quarter.

17:08 , George Flood

21 mins: A big clearing kick from inside the French 22 slips straight through the grasp of Watson in the wet conditions.

Blue put-in at the scrum.

France well on top in the tactical kicking game so far this afternoon.

17:07 , George Flood

20 mins: More frustration for England as they initially set up a decent-looking rolling maul that quickly goes down.

France counter-ruck nicely through Cros and get another turnover.

17:06 , George Flood

19 mins: Better from Smith and France are pinged for changing their bind.

An England penalty boomed into touch for the corner once more.

17:04 , George Flood

17 mins: Both teams exchange booming kicks in the wet weather.

A long period of kick tennis ends with an eventual sloppy French clearance under England pressure.

From the lineout, England have the chance to work their way with ball in hand into the French 22 for the first time today.

17:02 , George Flood

15 mins: That’s wasteful from Fickou as he tries a little kick in behind that goes out of the dead-ball zone.

A reprieve for England, who are struggling notably at the breakdown in these early stages.

17:01 , George Flood

13 mins: Better from England with Lawrence and Malins looking to spark their attack, with pressure on a French defensive lineout with the rain bucketing down in south-west London.

However, Ludlam is then whistled for sealing off and the French have a penalty which they fire into touch on the edge of the England 22.

16:59 , George Flood

12 mins: It’s all very loose from England around the field as the two sides go head to head with some bruising collisions in midfield.

France wind up with the put-in at the scrum at the halfway line, though French tighthead Aldegheri is then penalised.

Smith immediately produces a deep kick with no pressure on Ramos, who gobbles it up and France move their way clear.

The rain is now pouring down at Twickenham.

16:57 , George Flood

9 mins: A first bit of joy for England as they earn a penalty and boot to the corner.

However, nothing comes of the attack as France’s defence stands firm and earns a pressure-relieving penalty inside their own 22.

The ball looked to slip away from Ludlam’s grasp at the lineout. So frustrating.

Watch: Ramos scores within two minutes for France

16:55 , George Flood

Nick Purewal at Twickenham

16:54 , George Flood

France are picking England off at will from the start here. Henry Slade made a good defensive read to step out and make a tackle, and still the hosts could not stop Les Bleus.

The second-minute try was bad enough, but England still have not recovered.

PENALTY! England 0-10 France | Thomas Ramos 7'

16:53 , George Flood

7 mins: England haven’t settled at all here, France attacking with menace and purpose - they are handling well and showing superb pace and guile.

Ramos add three more from the tee after an infringement that followed Alldritt’s superb break.

10 points for the full-back already. The hosts in an early hole.

TRY! England 0-7 France | Thomas Ramos 2'

16:50 , George Flood

2 mins: How’s that for an early statement from the French?!

Charles Ollivon heads into contact deep inside the France half, releasing lock Thibaud Flament.

He speeds ahead and eventually tees up Ethan Dumortier, who provides the perfect offload for full-back Ramos to then turn on the jets and saunter home.

Ramos converts his own score. Really poor start from England.

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

16:47 , George Flood

2 mins: A sloppy start from England as the returning Danty wreaks havoc and France get the turnover through Gael Fickou.

But it’s eventually stolen back by Freddie Steward.

A great atmosphere early on at Twickenham as ‘Swing Low’ booms out from all corners of this famous old ground.


16:46 , George Flood

‘Le Crunch’ is underway - a statement win ahead for Steve Borthwick or can France finally end their Twickenham hoodoo?

New Zealander Ben O'Keeffe is today’s referee.

Marcus Smith kicks to get us up and running.

Both sides in their familiar home strips this afternoon. All white vs all blue.

16:44 , George Flood

Passionate renditions of La Marseillaise and God Save the King over, it’s almost time for kick-off!

A real big-game feel to this one.

Standard Sport’s Nick Purewal at Twickenham

16:42 , George Flood

Ellis Genge stalked the tunnel in a manner reminiscent of Martin Johnson there as England waited to take the field.

Unfair comparison No 1 for today out of the way then, let’s see what England have in store with Marcus Smith holding the keys to the backline at fly-half.


16:41 , George Flood

Here come the teams at a very gloomy and overcast Twickenham.

The usual bursts of pyrotechnics and blaring music as Ellis Genge leads out England for the first time. What a proud moment for the Bristol loosehead.

The superb Antoine Dupont captaining France as usual this afternoon.

16:38 , George Flood

Standard Sport’s Nick Purewal is in position at Twickenham...

16:29 , George Flood

French defence guru Shaun Edwards admits in his pre-match interview with ITV that he is surprised by Borthwick’s decision to go with Smith over Farrell today.

Let’s see if the bold call to try and go toe-to-toe with France in attack, as Scotland tried to do in Paris a fortnight ago, pays off.

It should be anything but dull!


Wales secure bonus-point win in Rome

16:24 , George Flood

It’s all over at the Stadio Olimpico, where Wales have claimed a badly-needed bonus-point win over Italy, 29-17.

Warren Gatland’s men got three first-half scores through Rio Dyer, Liam Williams and a deserved penalty try, with Taulupe Faletau then securing the bonus point after man-of-the-match Rhys Webb’s break to ruin an attempted Azzurri fightback late on.

Boy did they need that after three straight losses and a worst start to this tournament since 2007 against a backdrop of ongoing crisis both on and off the pitch.

Italy’s lengthy wait for a home Six Nations win will go to at least 11 years as they only have Scotland at Murrayfield to play now.

The wooden spoon will surely be theirs again.


England warned over Gael Fickou

16:13 , Marc Mayo

Nick caught up with Racing 92’s Rory Teague in the week to discuss the return of “crazy legs” Gael Fickou.

He said: “Gael just glides in attack, he’s very subtle in his speed changes. And that’s quite daunting for defenders because he’s got that ability to go to the line and win his collisions.”

Read the full story!

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

England vs France: Countdown to kick-off

16:09 , Marc Mayo

Some early kicking practice for Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell out on the Twickenham turf as the warm-ups begin.

Kick-off in under 40 minutes!

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

England vs France: Key battles

16:04 , Marc Mayo

Ollie Lawrence v Jonathan Danty

Jobless in September after Worcester folded and overlooked for Six Nations selection in January, Lawrence has flipped his script in fine fashion, and the 23-year-old now heads England’s midfield queue.

Danty is back to offer a similarly physical threat for France. Manu Tuilagi has pretended to be Danty in England training this week. Expect sparks to fly.


Steve Borthwick explains dropping Owen Farrell

15:59 , Marc Mayo

It’s all tactics for the England boss in his decision to start Marcus Smith ahead of Owen Farrell.

“As I always do, I went through the game plan that we wish to play, the specific tactics we wish to play, the opponents and the strengths they have, and for this game I've decided to make this selection ,” Borthwick said.

“It's the same selection process I go through each week. It's a fantastic position to be in that I have such great fly-halves to select from. We had George Ford in the squad this week as well.

“To have three world class fly-halves is brilliant. And for this game, I think it's the right decision to start Marcus.”

How Marcus Smith won back his place in the team

15:55 , Marc Mayo

Nick delivers us the inside line on how Marcus Smith returned to Harlequins on a mission as he looked to reclaim his England spot.

Read the full story!

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Throwback: Some cracking tries from Le Crunch

15:49 , Marc Mayo

England vs France: Key battles

15:41 , Marc Mayo

Jack Willis v Charles Ollivon

Willis has emerged from the wreckage of Wasps’ administration to thrive with Toulouse, who are thrilled with his abilities.

Steve Borthwick has quickly installed Willis as his premier breakdown battler, too, and the 26-year-old will be facing team-mates and French Top 14 foes aplenty.

Ollivon will try to spoil England’s ball just as Willis will look to ruin France’s possession.

James Small-Edwards interview

15:37 , Marc Mayo

Ahead of today’s game, Nick caught up with James Small-Edwards, the son of France defence coach Shaun Edwards, on his move into politics - which some would say is following in his father’s footsteps.

Read the full story!

England march into Twickenham

15:32 , Marc Mayo

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

England vs France match odds

15:25 , Marc Mayo

England to win: 6/5

France to win: 8/11

Draw: 22/1

Odds via Betfair (subject to change).

Ellis Genge captains England today

15:19 , Marc Mayo

Lewis Ludlam has backed Ellis Genge to fire up England as he takes the armband.

Ludlam said: “Ellis will be hissing and he will have us hissing for him.

“The fact that he has come from where he has, and he now has the opportunity to captain his country this weekend, in front of all his family and all the people back home, he’s got a chance to make a lot of people proud.”

Read the full story!

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

England vs France: Key battles

15:14 , Marc Mayo

Ellis Genge vs Dorian Aldegheri

England captain Genge will fancy his chances at the scrum against France’s third starting tight-head in as many Test matches.

Aldegheri plays for highly decorated Top 14 outfit Toulouse, so his paltry eight caps belie his international potency.

England’s scrum has improved markedly across the Six Nations but will face a far sterner challenge against Les Bleus.

Elsewhere in the Six Nations

15:09 , Marc Mayo

Wales comfortably ahead against Wales in the other Six Nations game, which is now at half time in Rome.

French fans lapping up the west London atmosphere

15:03 , Marc Mayo

Napoleonic costumes a bold shout from the travelling fans. Wonder if they came through Waterloo Station?

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Go behind the scenes at Twickenham

14:58 , Marc Mayo

Scrum’s the word for England

14:54 , Marc Mayo

One of the key aspects of Steve Borthwick’s early reign in charge of England has been a revamp of the Red Rose scrum.

Nick wrote in the week about how opinion has been sought as far and wide as World Rugby and top referees to ensure they don’t fall foul of rugby’s technical rules.

Read the full story!


Today’s destination

14:47 , Marc Mayo

Twickenham in all its glory today - expect it to be packed out and rocking in just two hours’ time.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

England vs France: Head-to-head record

14:42 , Marc Mayo

France have not won at Twickenham in the Six Nations since all the way back in 2005. Their last win at English rugby headquarters was in a World Cup warm-up match in 2007.

England have won two of the last three meetings including the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup final thriller in extra-time, though went down 25-13 in Paris last year as their rivals sealed a first Grand Slam triumph for 12 years.

England wins: 60

France wins: 42

Draws: 7

Prediction: England to edge close contest

14:36 , Marc Mayo

This is a must-win game for England of course if they want to keep their slim title dreams alive ahead of a daunting trip to Dublin on Super Saturday.

We’ve seen them utitlise their greatly-improved set-piece and then kicking game to decent effect in back-to-back wins, but now fans want to see Steve Borthwick let the handbrake off and attack with verve and pace - something he very much intends to do if Smith’s selection is anything to go by.

There is an obvious danger in trying to go toe-to-toe with a team like France in such a manner - if the visitors click, they will strongly fancy their chances of coming out on top in a barnstormer.

However, their record at Twickenham is paltry and they have not looked the same formidable force of 2022 so far in this tournament.

England to win, by three points.

Jonathan Danty returns for France

14:29 , Marc Mayo

France have restored powerful centre Jonathan Danty to their midfield with his knee issue now behind him, partnering Gael Fickou as Yoram Moefana drops to the bench.

The French have something of a selection crisis at tighthead with Uini Atonio and Mohamed Haouas both now banned, leading to a start for Toulouse’s Dorian Aldegheri.

Flanker Anthony Jelonch is missing with a serious knee injury, so Francois Cros deputises on the blindside. Replacement fly-half Matthieu Jalibert is also sidelined, leading to a place on the bench for Melvyn Jaminet.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

How France will line up today

14:24 , Marc Mayo

France XV: Ramos; Penaud, Fickou, Danty, Dumortier; Ntamack, Dupont (c); Baille, Marchand, Aldegheri; Flament, Willemse; Cros, Ollivon, Alldritt.

Replacements: Mauvaka, Wardi, Falatea, Taofifenua, Macalou, Lucu, Moefana, Jaminet.

Marcus Smith the big inclusion for England

14:16 , Marc Mayo

Marcus Smith for Owen Farrell is England’s only change from the team that started the 20-10 victory over troubled Wales in round three.

However, versatile forward David Ribbans also comes onto the bench to replace Northampton Saints team-mate Courtney Lawes, who will miss the remainder of the Six Nations with a shoulder injury.


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