France v England

England hope to get back to winning ways and keep their Championship hopes alive at Stade de France

RuaidhrĂ­ Croke Sat, Mar 10
LIVE: France v England

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  • Over to you then, France.

    If Les Bleus can stop England from scoring a bonus point win this evening then Ireland will be Six Nations champions.  

    Welcome along to our liveblog of England's make-or-break clash with France in Paris. My name is Ruaidhrí Croke and I will be taking you through all of the action which may just end with Ireland being crowned champions. You can get involved by using the 'Contact Us' button at the top of the blog.

    Team news on the way!

  • FRANCE:  H Bonneval (Toulon); B Fall (Montpellier), M Bastareaud (Toulon), G Doumayrou (La Rochelle), R Grosso (Clermont Auvergne); F Trinh-Duc (Toulon), M Machenaud (Racing 92); J Poirot (Bordeaux-Begles), G Guirado (Toulon, capt), R Slimani (Clermont Auvergne), P Gabrillagues (Stade Francais), S Vahaamahina (Clermont Auvergne), W Lauret (Racing 92), Y Camara (Montpellier), M Tauleigne (Bordeaux-Begles).

    Replacements:  A Pelissie (Bordeaux-Begles), D Priso (La Rochelle), C Gomes Sa (Racing 92), R Taofifenua (Toulon), K Galletier (Montpellier), B Couilloud (Lyon), L Beauxis (Lyon), G Fickou (Toulouse).

    ENGLAND:  A Watson (Bath); J May (Leicester), B Te’o (Worcester), O Farrell (Saracens, capt), E Daly (Wasps); G Ford (Leicester), D Care (Harlequins); M Vunipola (Saracens), J George (Saracens), D Cole (Leicester), J Launchbury (Wasps), M Itoje (Saracens), C Lawes (Northampton), C Robshaw (Harlequins), N Hughes (Wasps).

    Replacements:  L Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), J Marler (Harlequins), K Sinckler (Harlequins), J Haskell (Wasps), S Simmonds (Exeter), R Wigglesworth (Saracens), J Joseph (Bath), M Brown (Harlequins).

    Referee:  Jaco Peyper (South Africa).

  • So, here we are. After that 11th win in a row for Ireland, the Grand Slam is still a very real possibility and a Championship win is even more realistic. England face France off the back of their surprise loss to Scotland a fortnight ago with the pressure of needing to score four tries weighing heavily on their shoulders.

    If they don't win and score four tries the Six Nations for them is over. France will be determined to make that so. They come into this game off the back of a win over Italy two weeks ago and with nothing to lose.

    While England have had plenty of success in Paris, there are also the lingering nightmares, not least the 31-6 annihilation in 2006 and the 36-0 World Cup pool drubbing by South Africa the following year.

    With their Six Nations hopes on the line they will need to create good memories today.

  • Okay, let's do this.

    The players are on the pitch and it's national anthem time!

  • Not much beats a rousing rendition of  Les Marseillais.

    The atmosphere at the Stade de France is bubbling up nicely and we are ready to go!

  • 1 min: We are underway!  (France 0 England 0)
  • 2 mins: France break from the halfway line and look to be in for a try but it's pulled back - correctly - for a forward pass. Scum for England on halfway.  (France 0 England 0)
  • 4 mins: England break the deadlock! Owen Farrell's first penalty of the day splits the posts and puts the visitors ahead.  (France 0 England 3)
  • 8 mins: England have certainly come out all guns blazing and they'd need to. Not only do they need to win and rack up a bonus point but they also have to make up a defecit of 44 points over this game and the Ireland game. It's a big ask but they're a team capable of doing it.

    After some good attacking play going through the phases the French defence wins out. The penalty is kicked to touch.  (France 0 England 3)

  • 11 mins: There is the Six Nations table as it stands. As you can see, England have plenty of work to do.

    England have dominated the ball so far and are patiently looking for gaps in the French defence. However, the home side have held firm once again and kicked to touch. (France 0 England 3)

  • 13 mins: A wayward pass from Danny Care inside the French 22 is intercepted and Hugo Bonneval streaks down the pitch. They've barely been in the England 22 so far and it shows as Rabah Slimani knocks on, allowing England to clear their lines.  (France 0 England 3)
  • 17 mins: It's all gone a bit messy with a few collapsed scrums inside the England 22. Maxime Machenaud will try again. If they do this correctly they could have a chance here...  (France 0 England 3)
  • 18 mins: The scrum is worked well and Machenaud goes for the grubber kick through but there's just a little too much on it and the ball runs out of play. This is France's best passage of the game so far.  (France 0 England 3)
  • 21 mins: All the time the clock is ticking down and making it harder and harder for England to rack up the four tries that they need to keep their Six Nations hopes alive.  

    After four collapsed scrums England are given a penalty on halfway which Elliot Daly has slotted over!

    That was an enormous kick! But it's tries the visitors need.  (France 0 England 6)

  • 24 mins: Some good attacking work from France results in a penalty for offside. It's a fair distance out and on the right of centre but Machenaud will kick for the posts.

    On the other side of the pitch Nathan Hughes is down injured and will be replaced by Sam Simmonds.  (France 0 England 6)

  • 25 mins: And he nails it!

    No mistakes from Machenaud and the defecit has been halved.  (France 3 England 6)

  • 28 mins: England don't seem too concerned about these bonus points so far. With another penalty in a good position Farrell has again decided to kick for goal.

    He fires it over and England lead by six once again but it's tries they need.  (France 3 England 9)

  • 32 mins: France are really pushing for a try here. They're just five metres from the tryline with ball in hand...  (France 3 England 9)
  • 33 mins: But it's knocked on! Paul Gabrillagues fumbles it and France lose their attacking momentum. However, they have been given an earlier penalty for which advantage was being played and Machenaud fires it straight between the posts.

    We're back to a three-point defecit!  (France 6 England 9)

  • 37 mins: Another penalty for France for offside and Machenaud now has the chance to level the scores. It's fairly central but a long way out...  (France 6 England 9)
  • 38 mins: But it's there! What a kick, this man cannot miss.  

    We have a level game once again and all is looking rosy for Ireland at the moment. Remember England must win and score four tries or else Ireland will be Six Nations champions.  (France 9 England 9)

  • 39 mins: It's all a bit scrappy. A French knock-on from the restart gives England a scrum on the French 22 and perhaps a chance to steal a try before half time.  (France 9 England 9)
  • 40+1 mins: Once again the scrum collapses twice. It's been extremely scrappy all round so far today. England don't look quite at it just yet.  (France 9 England 9)
  • HALF TIME: France 9 England 9
  • 41 mins: We are back underway in Paris! Can England get the four tries they need? (France 9 England 9)
  • 44 mins: England have certainly come out gunning for tries in this half. They're five metres from the line with ball in hand...  (France 9 England 9)
  • 45 mins: But France turn it over! This has been a mixture of excellent French defending and very poor English attacking. France kick to touch and another few minutes slip by for England.  (France 9 England 9)
  • 48 mins: France are suddenly on the attack and almost in! Guirado stoke it from a lineout and burst through but was caught. It's recycled and kicked up and over to the far touchline where Remy Grosso palms it down to Gabrillagues. He looks set to crash over the line for a try but Anthony Watson pulls him down with what looks to be a very high tackle.  (France 9 England 9)

    After going to the TMO the referee correctly adjudges Watson to have tackled high. The English full-back is sent to the touchline and France are given a penalty try.

    England have a mammoth job on their hands now! They need four tries in 30 minutes or else Ireland are the Six Nations champions!  (France 16 England 9)

  • 55 mins: England are way off the pace today. They don't even look like they have any belief anymore. Put the champagne on ice, Ireland.

    France have ball in hand and are attacking with serious intent. They look determined to win this and scupper England's chances.  (France 16 England 9)

  • 60 mins: More poor handling from England - namely Jamie George - rewards France with a scrum on halfway line.  (France 16 England 9)
  • 62 mins: More good play from France results in a penalty outside the English 22 and, as he's done all day, Machenaud again makes no mistake!

    Ireland have one hand and four fingers on the Six Nations trophy!  (France 19 England 9)

  • 65 mins: Penalty for France! More poor handling for England - it's been their real killer today - costs them in a good position. Machenaud kicks to touch and France win the lineout.  (France 19 England 9)
  • 70 mins: A french attack comes to nothing as England turn it over and get the penalty. They kick to touch and will have a lineout on halfway.  (France 19 England 9)
  • 72 mins: England drive forward with Ben Te'o who finds Elliot Daly on the left but he's held up. It's recycled and Farrell attempts to grubber it through but it runs out of play.  (France 19 England 9)

    Some lovely passing across the pitch after Itoje won a lineout is eventually finished by May after a quick palmed pass from Daly on the touchline. But it looks to be coming too late for England. Farrell converts.  (France 19 England 16)


  • 78 mins: France increase their lead with a penalty from Lionel Beauxais after Chris Robshaw was penalised.

    Pop the corks, lads!  (France 22 England 16)