Post-Match Reaction: France 22-24 England

Three tries from England in Paris saw Stuart Lancaster boost his chances of landing the head coach position as England picked up their third win of this year’s Six Nations.

A classic in Paris saw England race away early on through two excellent tries from Manu Tuilagi and Ben Morgan, before France clawed their way back in through the boot of Lionel Beauxis. This continued in the second half before Croft raced away to stretch the lead. France came back through a fourth try in four games for Wesley Fofana, before a late François Trinh-Duc drop goal fell short.

What were your thoughts on the game? Should Stuart Lancaster take the job on full time?

67 thoughts on “Post-Match Reaction: France 22-24 England

  1. wot a tense game, think the ref was bias tho, the only time he he wasnt against us was when he was in sight of the TMO.

  2. Great performance from England, they showed that the French can’t really cut the mustard when the chips are down :).

  3. Mmmm. Alan Pierre Rolland, that unbiased “Irish” referee, is developing a bit of a reputation for sending people off from sides that are beating the French, isn’t he? Unfortunately for him it didn’t work this time. Good on England. And I’m a Welshman.

  4. I remember when England had to play well to win in Paris. Not today England were rubbish and France were worse. Lets not a good result paper over the cracks.
    Will need to improve to beat Ireland next week and if France play like that they will get hammered,{good luck Wales win the Grand Slam you deserve it.}
    P.S. would like to see a 9 or 10 who can pass the ball and not keep kicking it.

    1. WOW thats a throw away comment right there. That was the game of the tournament so far. remove head from back side man

        1. If your from wales you wont agree, but that game had everything, im neutral neither french english or welsh and that was the game of the competition so far. It had everything, great scores, drama, brilliant over all game and well reffed regardless of the Roland haters.

          1. No Ringo, I’m not a Roland hater but I am a Rugby lover. This why I hate watching games refereed by him. He is one of those refs. who believes he is more important than the game and wants everyone to know how great he is. Great refereeing doesn’t involve idiotic phrases like ‘I have no alternative’ but to give a yellow card (clearly he did because that alternative he didn’t have was exercised differently when a French player deliberately knocked on. I’m not keen on conspiracy theories but on both recent occasions this half-french ref has made appallingly autocratic decisions which have nearly ruined games the team to benefit has been France. Coincidence or what

          2. The game had everything but does not make it the game of the championship – it was error strewn, poor defensively from France with terrible handling errors and seemed lost and did not perform. England played well in parts and took thier opportunities well.

  5. Good game of rugby, but once again the shine was taken off it by Sonia McCloughlin once again asking stupid questions. She obviously has limited knowledge of the game and is bloody annoying…… I can’t understand why the BBC persevere with her for the England games when they have the likes of Jill Douglas et al……….

  6. But a win is still a win – especially when the referee plays in a blue shirt! Even the commentators kindly viewed it as “not his best game”.

  7. Another ‘shocker’ by Rolland. He is not up to this level of Rugby and should not be permitted to Ref a French International. Players do well to maintain respect for him on the field but performances like this will serve to undermine the innate respect and deference that Rugby pays to its referees in comparison to soccer. He also displays an arrogant attitude towards the players which is unbecoming.

  8. What do the Croft ‘doubters’ think now? The game showed how effective he is in the right structure. A lot of people waiting for Wood’s return but would he walk straight in?

      1. Ringo, if Rolland had no choice and was even handed then why was Fofana not carded earlier for same offence! Some other decisions were dubious but he saw what he saw so be it but he didn’t treat the deliberate knock evenly. There needs to be consistency to avoid claims of bias. Clearly offside wasn’t the rule today either. France should have had a penalty at the end but he had also ignored several blatant infringes by them earlier.

    1. To be fair Croft really hasn’t played that well in the tournament so far. He is at his best when on hard dry pitches where he can run, and certainly conditions in Scotland and Italy didn’t suit him. I was disappointed when he didn’t really show too much against Wales and was all for dropping him. Hat has now been eaten as he had a tremendous game today. If Harinordiquoy hadn’t had his best game of the season (I predicted he would as he was playing England!)Croft should have got MoM. He actually put in all of the grunt work today as well as showing a clean pair of heals for his try. All round fantastic display.

  9. The Ref had a great game. Amazing how People ignore the deliberate knock on and blame the ref rather then the player in question. Petty petty stuff. Not to mention the ref clearly didn’t want to send anyone to the bin but was advised from the touch judge AND even said it ” i have no choice” because he has rules to follow just as the players know that a deliberate know on is STUPID and gets a yellow card!

    On the game. Outstanding game of rugby the game of the tournament for my money. England showed experience beyond their years and Lancaster has done a great job to temper the off field silliness and bring on such a talented group of lads. No ego not hype, just good honest rugby and winning.

    Alot of the ref bashers could learn from their example! For my eyes the ref had the best ref performance of the competition. certainly his irish countryman clancy, could learn a thing or two.

    1. Even if you do think Sharples deserved the card do you not think Fofana deserved the same? You can argue it was the right decision but you can’t argue it was consistent.

      1. Fofan and Sharpels were totally different, Fofana went for the ball with full commitment, his whole body. he Knocked it on plain and simple. Sharpels Slapped it down out of the air. And both offences wew caught my the line judge. FFS does no body here know the rules of the game? or is selective judgment just a thing of choice!

        Bloody sickens me this rubbbish! But hey don’t take my word for it. Director of rugby at Quins, O’Shea, said the ref had an Excellent game! among others in England and beyond.

        Bloody one eyed simpletons ¡, can appreciate a fantastic game of rugby but prefer to whinge and moan and find fault where there is none.

        1. All the commentaters said it was either the same offence or Fofana’s was worse. Every other comment on here is also supporting that conclusion. But i suppose we’re all ‘one eyed simpletons’.

          1. All the commentators? u mean english dont you! because all the commentators didn’t say that at all hell not even all the commentators! the welsh guy on bbc did’nt say it either… he just asked that fool beside him his opinion which is historically always wrong and one sided! Conor O’Shea didn’t say. hes a rugby director in the AP and on the bloody selection panel for the new england manager! , and this week in the papers most pundits with there eyes open will confirm it. Maybe not all simpletons but certainly you! Really what is the point in arguing.

          2. I thought Fofana’s was a premeditated leap with no chance of catching or tipping the ball backwards and Sharples was an instinctive reaction.

            Can’t see an argument for Sharples offence being the worst, but a yellow for either seems harsh.

          3. Matt

            That perhaps the stupidest comment of the day! Ye he had no chance of getting to it! But he went for it! Thats not in question! the rule does not state that you cant go for a lost cause! It says you cant slap it down deliberately! Fofana went for it, the fact he couldnt get to it has nothing to do with anything! Sharpels slapped it down! An if its instinct that drive your argument… then his instinct was to slap it down thus he deserves another bloody yellow card for idiocy!

          4. “All the commentators? u mean english dont you! because all the commentators didn’t say that at all hell not even all the commentators! the welsh guy on bbc did’nt say it either… he just asked that fool beside him his opinion which is historically always wrong and one sided!”

            just re watched the analysis of the sharples knock on. Inverdale asks and i quote. “Whats the difference between the fofana and sharples incident?” Jonathon Davies (thats the welsh guy) says “nothing, well the difference was a yellow card and neither was a yellow”. Guscot obviously backs this sentiment and then JD then says he thinks fofana’s was worse. When they turn to thomas castaignede he jokingly (with a big grin) says he has nothing to say, basically admitting the ref made a mistake. watch it on iplayer.

            So whilst this doesn’t prove the point it does prove that you have at best a bad memory and at worst a selective one when it comes to this incident.

            I know this is really sad but you did call me a Bloody one eyed simpleton so i feel its fair.

          5. And just exactly what do u expect from a BBC broadcast. Can you tell me with honesty that u expect them to call it from a neutral point of view! And in point of fact i watched it on irish TV where the commentators saw exactly the opposite of what the beeb commentators saw.

            All it shows me is that they are partisan. And i can understand that as the Irish might be the same in the similar position, however it does not change the evidence of the eyes which are quite simple. Fofana went for the ball and knocked on, while Sharples simply slapped it down like he would a fly. One was intent the other was desperation. One got a yellow the other got nothing. but in both cases the ref called it spot on.

          6. Ok if you watched it on different tv that negates some of my point. We’re just going to have to agree to disagree. But the fact that several others on this blog are seeing it the way i am means its not just as simple as ‘seeing with the eyes’… I do however agree BBC analysis is terrible.

          7. You can’t have a deliberate knock on without intent! That would just be a knock on and would have resulted in a scrum. Fofana’s was given as a penalty and hence deliberate and should have seen yellow according to the current guidelines and consistent with Sharple’s later offence.

          8. @ Marcus

            The Fofana knock on was not given as anything, the play was brought back for a scrum. At least get it right before making your opinion as tho its a piece of fact.

            Anyway, England won in the end, i really can’t understand all the bickering.

        2. Your attitude is rather rude but oh well…

          The ref was truly awful. Sharples was unlucky, he knocked it on by being caught between a tackle and an interception. But fair is fair, deliverate knock on, as rules state, is a pro foul and therefore yellow card. But France werent even warned about there’s!!

          Rules state that a deliberate knock on equals a professional foul and a yellow card. So if France deliberately knocked on, why wasn’t it a yellow card? Please enlighten me???

          1. Because he knocked it on. not deliberately, he went for it full commitment, jumping into the air and he knocked it on. Sharples slapped it out of the air. Now u asked and i answered. but none the less your not enlightened. i might as well say it to the bloody wall.

          2. I think Ringo is claiming Fofana was attempting a catch and Sharples just batted the ball down.

            Personally i think the rule is a difficult one as most ‘deliberate’ knock ons are actually players trying to bat the ball up to try and run onto it. Its very instincitve just to put a hand out when a pass fires across you. You can rarely say the player made no attempt to catch the ball because that will always be the players greatest wish.

            If the pass was near impossible to intercept does that mean he shouldn’t be allowed to try? Maybe deliberate knock ons should just be penalised with a scrum. I don’t really see it as overly negative play.

          3. Nick Hill

            That is a fiar summation right there, but rules are rule as they stand, and i dont for the life of me understand the Ref bashing from winning fans!

            More over winning fans in a game that was Incredible! the game of the competition thus far and an over all superb performance from a fledgling side.

            I was incredibly impressed and thought they played fantastic. But rules are rules and the two knock ons were a world apart in the way they happened and the manner in which each player attempted to take the ball.

        3. Ringo, open your eyes. It was a bad and inconsistent decision that could have cost England the game. It is therefore a talking point.

          May I also remind you that this is a forum for discussing these things… No whining or moaning going on other than by you.

          1. Indeed is is a discussion and im not going to stand by while you turn what was a magnificent game of rugby into yet another Alan Roland witch hunt.

            An if you do indeed believe in your lofty statement about discussing the topics then whey do you contradict your own view by challenging me and offering nothing by way of argument other then it was “inconsistent”

            Back in you limited box!

          2. Ringo, maybe an alternative to your gratuitously insulting comments against those who dare to disagree with you would be a crash course in how to spell and write grammatically correct English. A more civilised approach to your rants would be to remember the words of Voltaire “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” Your response to those who disagree with you is predicable as the ignorant always sink to insult to hide their ignorance and in the language of your hero Monsieur Rolland ‘plus ça change plus c’est la même chose’ and as you probably wouldn’t understand that’s yer actual French.

        4. Ringo you need to read law 12.1 point e.

          “A player must not intentionally knock the ball forward with hand or arm, nor throw forward”

          If you leap like a salmon to knock forward a ball you couldn’t hope to catch or knock backwards, or stick an arm out or slap a ball down it is the same offense.

          No issue with either being given as a penalty, I just can’t understand from the rule how Sharples offence was worse than Fofana and why it deserved a yellow.

          I suggest you find some blog for keyboard warriors rather than posting personal insults on this one.

    2. Of course he had no choice. If he had to face the humiliation of overseeing a french defeat all that good money he had bet on his vaterland would be for nought.

    3. So Ringo…for the same infringement from the French…why not the same punishment?? penalty for both OR yellow for both! Bad call by the ref

  10. Agree with the comments about Rolland who is a waste of space – surely there are better refs out there?…….difficult enough against the French but with effectively an extra player ….some stupid penalties given away & I thought Farrell was a bit naive and wasteful with some of his kicks but what a hit at the end on Harinordoquy — that certainly made up for it….front 5 were also immense today – was good to see the Garlic eaters on the back foot!

    1. Have to say that there was a bit of disappointing kicking out of hand – seemed a bit like it was orders to me as it was worse straight after half time, but I’ll still take the result!

  11. Positives:
    – A win away against a team ranked above us playing in their fortress.
    – Fantastic scrum effort, good substitution of Stevens for Cole when the fresh Servat and Debaty had Cole under pressure.
    – Took our 3 trys really well.
    – Team spirit and confidence higher than it has been for a long time.

    – 11 of our starting players passed the ball 3 times or less, including 6 players who didn’t who didn’t pass the ball once.
    – Kicked away too much ball, not all of it well, some of it very badly.
    – We didn’t create anything, trys came from moments of individual excellence, rather than opportunites we earnt through well worked play.
    – Bench impact an issue.
    – Great try from Croft …. but he only carried the ball twice all game. More carries next week please.
    – Didn’t learn too much about Sharples other than electric pace chasing kicks (referees have detracted from all games this weekend)

    Do I want us to play with width and tempo, next week? Well yes, but the thing I really want to see us play with is the ball! We won’t win a kicking duel against the Kearney cannon, so lets see what offensive patterns we can run. Please can we get a look at Marler and Waldrom off the bench please, our front row managed a total of 7 carries for 0, yes zero, meters gained …. we need more go forward.

      1. From what I saw Corbs had the better of Mas and we had parity elsewhere. French got the upper hand with the injection of Servat and Debaty, I think if Stevens wasn’t seen as a risk he would have been on a bit earlier to sure it up. Keep in mind who we were up against though … it wasn’t Australia!

        I will have to enjoy a second watch with a lower heart rate and see if I’ve been too kind.

        1. I’m not too unhappy with the scrum performance but i wouldn’t describe it as one of the positives of our performance.

      1. I agree with the last comment, it was not a great English performance and an even worse France performance particularly in defence – England still lack the offensive ability to score tries from set pieces – but saying this England won and you can only beat the Team put in front of you and apart from Wales England have – 3 from 4. SL should be the next England Manager – this is a new Team with a new coach- winning breads confidence and the rest will come with time – i for one have been suprised how well the Team has gelled with a unit in such a short time.

    1. I had to look away when the TV coverage kept showing replays of Croft standing on Phil Dowson’s face after he’d already taken a knee to the side of the head. He could have been really seriously injured BUT he stopped an almost dead cert try from going through, bloody well done to him and I hope he recovers soon. That kind of disregard for your own safety can’t be coached – you have to believe in the team and the shirt. That kind of self-belief can win matches even when you are on the back foot, just as we saw yesterday.

  12. Chuffed to bits with the team effort. Might have given the Lancaster camp a boost – he learnt his lesson on substitutes.

    Despite being in the middle of an immense scrummaging duel thought Cole was all over the park today tackling and at the breakdown. Croft had his best game for ages and Robshaw seemed to be everywhere (still see him as a 6 though). Farrell taught us that there is life after Johnny although he needs some work on kicking out of hand.

    Agree that our attack still needs work as two of the tries were individual efforts. I’ll give Crofts to the coaching team as they had apparently been telling the players to attack the inside shoulder of the drift defense which is exactly what Croft did to fantastic effect. Ashton needs to get his head sorted out and wasn’t sure that Sharples did enough to keep his place if Strettle is fit, unless Ashton gets dropped. Disappointed with the ref as thought Rolland was inconsistent (despite some of the comments above) – as well as the obvious, he did miss some England offsides at the end of the game in kickable range which probably shows that he didn’t have a great game rather than being biased!

    Overall though a great game of rugby.

  13. Well pleased

    One can’t nag at a win in Paris too much. I think this team is growing in self belief, they are in it together which is great to see. I was well pleased with Croft’s game, I am a big fan of his and people have to stop expecting him to do the traditional 6 role and accept him for what he is, his cover tackling was immense.

    Nice for Foden to show people that if you give him a chance he will finish, it was his first of the tournement and he had a bit of work to do. Manu as well showed he is a natural finisher and all in all England now have some strike runners that can scare the other teams.


    We still don’t create much, we are more counter punchers at the moment, the Andy Murray of rugby, it was great to see the guys take their chances but we don’t have either a dynamic pack or a bruising pack. Our backline creates nothing really, they can finish but that is different, I would like the wingers to come off their wings more, to use Foden as second/third reciever, he has a wicked step. We are very predictable at the moment.

    Thought Parling, Botha, Cole and Croft were awesome the rest of the pack is more workman like, morgon has potential though. We still need a seven. Robsaw is doing a job for the team but that is about it.

    The passing in the middfield is dreadful. We have a lot to work on. But the potential id there and the confidence is growing, so I can wait for the more complex stuff.

    As for Farrell, again thought he had a good game, but he isn’t it, I’m sorry hard tackles a great but bot really the primary quality in a 10, his choice of kicks is debatable to say the least, his pass is suspect and I don’t think he reads the play particularly well. Great kick mind you. If we are going ton play Farrel at 10 we need a passing thinking inside centre, of the Fluety type, don’t know if we have one.


    This is the worst French back-line I have ever seen, what the hell is goign on, how can a country with so much back talent put such a load of donkies who can pass a ball on the field.

    1. What does Farrell need to do? If he didn’t make those tackles you would be criticising him saying that his tackling isn’t up to scratch for this level. Would we see Flood making tackles like that? No! His pass is suspect. I’d love to know where you’re building your evidence for that statement. Some of his kicking was not great, but overall it was another intelligent performance from a 20 year old, still learning his game on the international stage. He made Beauxis and Trainh-Duc look positively crap. but still not good enough apparently.

      1. He seems to have an appetite for the big games which belies his youth. If he carries on developing he could turn into an excellent 10. It is sadly typical of some English ‘fans’ and British press to start rubbishing a young guy before he even has his feet under the table.

  14. Amazed at the England supporters’ negativity. Have you ever watched a match where everything went right for a team? The ABs once or twice perhaps but any other? France were poor in execution but a very talented side once they get their act together and will give Wales, who are sliding a bit based on Saturday’s performance, a tough examination. If France show as much character as England showed yesterday they will beat Wales. If there is a need for criticism it should be towards Rolland who was dreadful throughout.

    1. Lets wait and see shall we, Wales will win if they get there act together, especially if France’s execution is as poor as on Saturday – guarantee Wales would not have allowed this France Team to get back into the game as England did.

  15. Outstanding effort from England who again played with commitment, passion and fire. To win away from home against France is always exceptional, well done guys. I hope the English RFU will give Stuart Lancaster the job, he has gone for youth and the guys are really playing as if it means something to represent the Rose. Brilliant.

    While I dislike criticising referees, after all rugby is very difficult game to officiate, I thought sending Sharples off was a mistake. Doubtless the ref will have reflected on this and perhaps realised his error. Fortunately England weathered that period with some sterling defence.

    Cannot really understand some of the comments here. It would seem that some people are never happy. We won. Celebrate the fact supporter of England.

    1. @Barry I think people have just been let down by so many false dawns with England over the last decade that it’s hard to get too excitied about this.

      The foundations are there, the defense is great we do still need to work hard on the breakdown and attack. How many times during the game did the commemtators point out that when we hit the French behind the gain line we needed to get in there quick to effect a turnover but never did?

      Also as superb as our tries were they were all indivdual efforts with out a structured build up. For us to become a great team we have to find a bit more structure in attack, and finally Farrell needs to kick better out of hand.

      All that being said it was another step in the right direction. We cemented the foundations against Wales and put up the super structure yesterday but it is still very fragile and a repeat of last year next weekend and it comes tumbling down.

      Rant over, it was a great game (despite nearly giving me a heart attack) and I do believe that the future is bright very bright indeed!

      1. Ben,
        I understand the hesitancy, England often fail to deliver. I ought to know as I have been following the fortunes of the side for about fifty years. But I cannot help but think that there is too much negativity in the comments here. This is something of national characteristic, but it is not one that does anyone much good.

        For a new side, and let us face it the great players of the World Cup era have now stood down from the international scene, so we are talking about a new team in most respects, they are playing with the enthusiam that has been missing since the halcyon times of 2003. There is much to celebrate this season, plenty to encourage amongst the new generation. We need to do it without any of the aysmal adoration that turns players heads and leads them to self destruct (Danny Cipriani, Danny Care etc).

  16. Why are people saying the tries were from individual efforts. Tuilagi’s try came after a great tackle from Ashton, quick intervention and then a pass off the floor fro Farrell to release Tuilagi, who then showed his pace and tenacity to score. Morgans was more individual, but the team had got him to that area of the pitch to attack from. And Croft’s try came about because we had committed too many of their players in the breakdown area, and got quick ball to him. He then backed himself to score, but could easily have given it to Foden. All three tries came from hard work around the pitch by the whole team, just finished by individuals within the team.

  17. I still can’t see Sharples offense as a deliberate knock on.

    Sorry but to me he reaches to intercept.

    1. I don’t quite agree – it looked at least partly deliberate to me, but crucially no different from the Fofana one. I have no problem with the ref if both players get treated the same be it yellow or just penalty but don’t treat them different.

      Don’t agree with the penalty against Ashton under the posts. Once again there were a couple of instances of handbags and none of the others led to a penalty. No consistency.

      I was also surprised when he told Robshaw to stop Ashton talking at the French – Mas didn’t stop all game – both to the English and the ref! No consistency.

      However to those who say he was biased – don’t agree – he was poor but he missed several English offsides, not to mention Harinordiquoy getting taken out off the ball in one French attack.

      And to think that I said before the game “Oh good it’s Rolland reffing today, not one of those southern hemisphere refs” – I’ve eaten those words!

  18. PSA’s experiment of Beauxis and Dupuy failed.

    If you’re taking a kicking cannonball like Beauxis, why not have your backs chase it? He’s not your conventional inventive flyhalf, and they underutilised his kicking abilities. And PSA took ages to take him off when they were chasing the game. Irony lies in the fact that Trinh Duc was benched because Beauxis is a superior kicker, and when TD came on, the first thing he had to do was to land a drop goal!

    Dupuy was too slow- France improved a lot after Parra’s intro.

    What will PSA do for Wales? Bring Yachvili at SH and use Parra at FH like ML, or have Parra and Beauxis? or go back to Parra and TD

  19. Although I’m not saying SL shouldn’t get the job, I am concerned about this concerted media frenzy to give the job to him purely on these 4 matches.

    1) It is always dangerous to judge a coach in their “honeymoon” period

    2) What is SL’s or Mallett’s long term vision and how are they going to acheive it. England have been too focussed on the short term for the last 8 years

    3) There are TWO new elements to this coaching set up – SL and Farrell. Farrell will be going back to Saracens after the 6N. How do we know that the work ethic and team spirit are not subtantively due to Farrell’s input. We will then be stuck with SL.

    4) Will SL’s lack of profile inhibit RFU’s ability to hire top notch support coaches like Wayne Smith. Much of the failure of the previous regime (IMO) was due to the mediocrety of Wells, Ford and Callard.

    These are the questions we will not be privy to but are fundemental to England’s future success, not the short term feel good factor of three narrow, but impressive results. I still maintain that Mallett with Lancaster as his main assistant would be the best combination, perhaps with Smith as attack coach and Farrell as defence coach on a part time basis (if Sarries agree).

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