Six Nations 2018: France v England Match Rating


How did you enjoy the match today between France and England?

What were the highlights? Which players performed well?

Give the match a rating out of 10, and please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Rate the Match: France v England

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57 thoughts on “Six Nations 2018: France v England Match Rating

  1. Edinburgh was a wake up call Paris suggests the situation is serious with no obvious solutions.
    What really annoys me these people are paid hundreds of thousands of £ yet their performance is substandard including the coaches.A long way from acceptable

  2. As an England fan, I’m glad they didn’t manage to win after that performance. This better be a wake up call to the coaches. The back row fix isn’t obvious, given injuries, but they can’t go with same players again. Also, need more dynamism in front row..Sinckler, George and Marler to start i think. Also think Farrell, Teo and JJ might start with same back 3 as today

  3. I predict France by 10 mainly due to Jones not picking a recognised back row. Yes the jones bubble has bust and it has every chance of being permanently flat if Ireland do what they look like they more than capable of next week.

  4. Dreadful performance.

    Why was Lawes still on the field past half time?? Can someone please confirm Launchbury was injured otherwise I think I give up on any attempt to understand EJ’s strategy

    1. Lawes and Launchbury both worked hard but didn’t have a good game.
      If one is over hyped and was poor. Apart from his high tackle, when he bothered to Ruck he was always late and straight off his feet, slow to get up and walked around the park much of the time. He seems to have lost fitness, form and enthusiasm. If one arguing with the ref and shoving the opposition off the board make him a liability at the moment.

  5. The breakdown once again proved our undoing, even worse than last week I think. Understanding injuries but the selection just didn’t prove itself. Simmonds seemed very lightweight and ineffective at 8 when introduced. Thought Sinkler and Haskell added something when introduced and Robshaw excellent in defeat… A lot of work to do.

    1. Agreed. Marler as well. Simmonds outmuscled by the French forwards. His time will come but I think I’d prefer to see him at 7

  6. Yeah, defo showed up as too lightweight to be an effective 8 in EJ system. Agree with Market, most of bench made a difference but they kept reverting to type, Sinkler and Haskell made some real ground from direct carries but they kept trying to get clever instead of using that as a weapon

  7. Glad to say i picked Sinkler to start in my pre-match team earlier in the week.
    He is the future and had France in all kinds of problems once he came on. The old guard represented by Cole and Hartley i would say have had their swansong. In that category i would even place Robshaw. A lot of sweat and toil but for little gain!
    The Currys, Underhills and Mercers are the future. It is an anathema that England have gone for so long without specialist 6 and 7’s and fudged it with auxiliary locks.
    As Jerry Guscott said in the post-match analysis, England and EJ need a world class attack coach as their attack looks bereft of ideas.
    The second phase of EJs revolution needs to happen now.
    He can begin it with the right team selection. By that i mean getting the starters rigbt! Its no good holding back his best players to ‘finish’! E.g. Sinkler and Simmonds. The latter would have been better than Lawes at flanker.
    I never want to see Lawes anywhere near 6 or 7 ever again!

    1. All sweat for little gain?? I agree to a great degree with flak across the squad, but Robshaw was genuinely one of England’s best players on the pitch (much though that says). Of the few turnovers won, I counted at least 3 by Robshaw. As we keep saying, if he were at 6 he would be ripping up trees. It would be a sorry result if he’s dropped off the back of what was actually a reasonably good performance in an otherwise bleak showing by the team.

      1. Points taken VJ but Robshaw was never EJs ideal or 1st choice player at 6.5.
        He has identified alternatives though the inexorably slow pace of that identification has taken time (not hekped by mass injuries). EJ probably wanted to cement himself first with wins BEFORE introducing sweeping changes! He has given himself a mandate for change now with his 30 odd wins and three losses. Could he be playing rugby politics?
        To date Robshaw and Haskell have been his best combo but going forward probably not. Age for one says not! Having said that I would expect both Robshaw and Haskell to start against Ireland.

        1. Can we put a stop to all this clamour for a genuine openside in the wake of this loss.

          We did not lose this game or the last game because we failed to turnover opposition ball we lost them because we failed to secure our own ball.

          We look tired and our pod system isn’t working the way it is supposed to

          1. Nice to hear the voice of reason Leon

            You could have thrown McCaw into that and it wouldn’t have made a blind bit of difference.

            It was so frustrating to watch yet another ruck when an English ball carrier went in only to find support from just the ubiquitous Robshaw or the likes of May or Ford.

            Meanwhile, a couple of metres away you had forwards like Lawes and Cole standing and watching as the French threw three or four players into the ruck and turned it over

      2. As a (very happy) neutral, Robshaw was easily your best player this week. And far from your worst last week. He seemed to be one of the few players interested in competing, and even made a couple of turnovers (I counted at least 3, though 2 of those were during French advantage). If EJ was to make 14 changes, he would be the player to keep, although maybe move him to 6 (or try him at 8?)

        1. Absolutely GKDA. I can’t bear to hear/read people slating Robshaw. Worked his arse off AGAIN, and was very effective indeed. Seemed to get on the wrong side of Peyper towards the end for some reason – pinged him a couple of times based on very harsh breakdown interpretation. Totally agree with the point on changing 14 other players before Robshaw, first name on the team sheet for me – ideally at 6 yes, but either way he plays.

  8. Italy aside, the Nations are all very close. Ireland struggled against France, the late drop goal denying what looked like being a French win. England had two chances to do the same. The second one had an open try line begging for a back line pass which one suspects would have been a straightforward run over. It wouldn’t have hidden the cracks, more to demonstrate the fine margins of test rugby.

    The penalty count killed the first half and nullified any English momentum. The amount of offside penalties was self inflicted ill disciplined. I know teams do it and get away with it, just look at NZ, but once you get pinged that’s you’re quota gone. That’s what EJs big bucks should be instilling in the players.

    And the cracks are still there, even after Scotland, and maybe a few more to boot. Ford/Farrel only works with quick breakdown ball. If that can’t be fixed then Faz needs to go to 10 and play two recognised centres. We need Young’s back as soon as possible. We need BV back as soon as possible. We need Lawes away from the flank. Simmonds should be at 7 and Robshaw back at 6, with Haskell finishing. Cole, I think is nearing the end of his England career. Sinckler just looked like a player from the future in comparison.

    It’s going to be a big game for EJ and England next week. I think it will be as close to open warfare as you’re likely to get on a sports field. The year long wait for revenge is nearly over and the perennial spoilers might just have their own party crashed into by wobbly wheeled chariot…..I can’t wait.

  9. Definition of madness. Picking the same back row over and over again and continually expecting a different outcome. Thought the breakdown was better when Haskell came on and we had two specialists on the field. Simmonds might be a future 7 but not until he can do the dirty work at the breakdown. Needs to go away and learn some more.

    Also what is the problem with English forwards taking the ball at pace and running straight and hard. Until the substitutions they all took the ball standing still. Terrible.

    Having said all of this, am I wrong or did France collapse every driving maul we had without penalty?

    Just really really disappointed. Ultimately we now stand only above Italy in our play for this 6N. Wales should have beaten us save for dodgy refereeing. The others either have or will. What a fall from grace.

  10. England cold have won in the last minute but flunked the obvious pass. Eddy Jones has been boasting about the team being the fittest in the world, the press have stated that there has been intense training in the camp. Five ‘cup finals’ in 7 weeks demands tapping reserves of energy during games and if fitness is left in the Gym or training ground then reserves are depleted. I hope that fitness training will ease this week and England will come out with some spark. The support of forward runners was poor and penalties resulted. I seemed to me that the English forwards, once feared, were sluggish and jaded.

  11. What has the Dalai Lama done to our rugby team. Another shocking performance 16 penalties conceded no back row we were not even competing for turnovers.
    I did not see one offload out of a tackle no support runners no imagination in midfield the worst England performance since the world cup debacle
    Dan Cole is way past his best needs replacing Robshaw back to 6 Hughes no where near good enough neither is Danny Care for that matter. Farrell is no 12 play him at 10 or not at all. Slade and Daley are our 2 best centres Watson at full back May and Nowell on the wings.

    1. Big Ford fan but he seems to be running out of ideas when we arent getting good ball. Farrell at 10 , with Teo and JJ/Slade would at least keep defenses honest.
      Robshaw has earned his spot, at 6, and it was good to see Daly back; genuinely class.
      Having to bring on Wigglesworth is the biggest disappointment, when we needed quick ball most we were stuck with sluggish ball and slow decision making. The ball shouldve gone out to Farrell at the end for a certain walk in.

      1. The French forwards and back row in particular looked like they’d been given a brief to deliberately search out George Ford and run directly at him at every available opportunity. It goes without saying that this was a sensible tactic.

        I will say that, given the size disadvantage, I have to admire the way Ford didn’t shirk a single tackle (as far as I recall anyway), despite being repeatedly smashed. I wouldn’t want to tackle blokes like Camara, Tauleigne and The Bastard at the best of times, but when they’re deliberately targeting you for pain infliction, well you have to admit he has cojones.

        Having said that, England suffered through having to either double up and support Ford in the tackle or backpedal most times he made the hit and generally lost a bit of ground in the process.

  12. There’s very little bite and energy coming off of England at the moment. They seem lethargic, and are far too static particularly when attacking. Something is very obviously amiss.
    Duff selections doesnt help, but really some of our play is brainless and very poorly executed.
    It shouldnt come as a massive shock. We’ve stumbled throughout this season, with the odd period of good play coming in between large periods of inadequacy.
    Huge test now for Jones and his coaches. Some improvement next week is the least we should expect, and the least they should be able to deliver.

  13. It is true to say EJs players are knakered. He had 16 Lions (the largest quota of any home nations players) to rotate and try to get the best from. Added to that he had an injury list the length of the Dartford Tunnel before the competition even started.
    Whilst not excuses they were the uncomfortable realities EJ had to deal with and might explain why England have gone from heros to zeros in the flash of an eye.
    Statistically no nation has played well after a Lions tour and this 6Ns has been no exception. I understand Ireland and its club teams manage their returnig Lions and internationals better (helped by a domestic system that demands some 30% less rugby during fhe week) .
    I hope that a poor 6ns helps clarify EJs selection policy going forward.

      1. Nice to welcome the crowing kiwi back!
        I posted on hear before the 6ns started that we should expect a loss or two! I was right it seems to have said so!
        Just as long as there’s no loss number 3!
        You have my full pernission to crow all you like should that occur, my young kiwi friend.

  14. As per Steve H this fall from grace shouldnt come as a massive shock, i just wish it had come sooner as it is a big ask and hope to fix it in time for Japan. Apart from the Scotland game in 2017 i am struggling to think of an England performace where i have come away thinking ‘yeah they are on track’. In my humble view the performance is just as important as a win, and whilst EJ winning percentage is high, performances have often been questionable. Yesterday the team looked deflated, low in confidence and again lacking on field leadership. Clearly we have a huge issue at the breakdown and overall our forwards seem to be lacking fire and agression. The team looked lost and it was really painful to watch.

  15. I was very pro Eddie for a while but started to have doubts over his selections for last summer tour. Then his comments regarding Robson and Armand really annoyed me. Why be so
    disparaging about very good players and then pick ones who are worse? Why not look at Mark Wilson who was so good in Argentina?
    Most worrying is how lethargic the players look….are they sick of
    Eddie and want him gone? Because they look mightily fed up. We know he beasts them in training and you kind of feel that they are starting to dig their heels in.
    Eddie said this was the best back row he could pick. Really?! Is he really saying that players like Armand and Wilson are so inferior to the choices he made.
    As for the whole scrum half debacle this is becoming ridiculous.
    Care as a starter hasn’t worked at all and Wigglesworth isn’t a finisher. Nowhere for me has his ignoring of Robson shown how egotistically stubborn he can be. Don’t bet he will change on this either.
    Question marks for me also about Borthwick who doesn’t seem to be able to coach them to maul beyond a foot or so.
    For me this has the feel of how things went wrong under Lancaster at the end with his obsession with Barrit and bizarre world cup selections. Would love to be wrong! but Eddie ‘s mammoth ego and stubbornness are starting to really worry me.

    1. Interesting points raised bolter. I think EJ has dug himself a huge hole and will struggle to get the team back on track unless he can stomach some humble pie. What is most baffling is how do you get the players so motivated they go on a record breaking (for England) winning run then plumb the depths of ineptitude in such a small length of time?

      Points to address:
      * find a genuine o/s who can win ball and use it
      *inject some fire and fury into the breakdown
      *put a stop to the insane habit of passing the ball UP in the air when your receiver is only ten feet away
      *select players on form not reputation
      *give “unfashionable” players a run and see if we uncover any hidden gems
      *drop players who are just turning up and expecting opponents to fall at our feet

      I’m sure there’s more to add. Any one want to join in?

      1. Acee

        As I understand it, Eddie has form for coming in and temporarily getting good results and his teams suddenly falling off a cliff. Previous players of his have talked about being flogged to death in training and manipulated constantly with carrot and stick mind games. I had thought maybe he’d learnt his lesson but perhaps he has reverted to type and the players are reacting? One thing for sure is that there now seems to be an inverse correlation between training and performance, Eddie said before the Scotland match that they had just had their most intense session yet but it was precisely that intensity which they were lacking on the pitch. Also I would like to see the stats on the rate of injury from Eddie coaching sessions compared with the other coaches! Last year’s judo especially comes to mind and you have to wonder what the players really think about that.
        Also wonder what they think about some of his selections most notably the omission of Robson where having Ww as a finisher negates the whole purpose of the bench Until this six nations England have repeatedly relied on the bench to come in and pile on the points and now that dynamic has been taken away their vulnerabilities are made more apparent. Surely they can see what is going on and that is eroding their self confidence and trust in Eddie’s judgement? Equally as soon as they lost the ball at the breakdown against France you could feel their confidence and will sap away and that tells you a lot about how little they trust in the systems they are playing.

    2. Care as a starter hasn´t worked well because we have had absolutely no front foot ball. He has passed decently and kicked quite well but there has been a complete lack of effective follow up to compete in the air, and he has never been able to break close to the ruck because there is no space. Cole was solid in the tight but looks absolutely exhausted and short of a gallop. People keep saying George should be playing instead of Hartley, but he was anonymous on Saturday and also looks in need of a rest. I see that Armand is in the 32 man squad this week, about a year late.

    1. Yes I agree.And as someone else says what is the true relationship between EJ and the players?They enthusiastically follow him or they resent him?I suspect it’s more the latter

    2. Sevegolf.
      They are knackered after playing for their clubs, a lions tour (all 16 english players that contributed to the tour that is – the largest home nations contingent) a 6ns and 3 autumn internationals just to boot.
      Plus Eddie it seems holds no prisoners when it comes to international pre-match training.
      Some won’t like to hear it said but England have had it harder this 6ns than their ‘ celtic’ neighbours. I have no problem in saying it! Besides i’m a sassenach!
      A leading newspaper and sports journo recently stated that the Irish for one have 20-30% less of a playing workload!
      Why…..they are managed better (rotated and rested) and no doubt because the commercial pressures for the english clubs$/club owners are greater. Simplistically put more rugby = more money! I would add that more rugby = more injuries which would expain the english length-of-the-Dartford-tunnel injury list which pre-existed the current tournament (it didn’t post-date it) hence we have seen a few of those ‘already crocked’ return and yet more rejoin thst list e.g Hughes. England have had so many injuries, it has also been said not by me but the papers and pundits, that England have achieved the equivalent of having to form two teams. The equivalent of having an ‘England squad’ and a revived or resucitated Saxons team in merry co-existence perhaps!

  16. The players dont have to like the coach but they do have to trust and respect him. Eddie has enough credit in the bank with the squad. His record is still impressive, even after the last couple of games.
    But that wont last indefinitely and he really needs to address and solve the breakdown malaise that has bugged us for too long. That and stop us giving away so many dumb penalties!
    Its all fixable. There’s no requirement to reinvent the wheel, but the coaches have to focus on areas of clear weakness and gain improvement.

  17. A real arm wrestle. England just upped the tempo, but have gone backwards. Jones has taken them there. Same fudged b/row. Daly apart, again exposed a lack of back line innovation.. & Daly is a centre. There, HE might bring some invention. Jones certainly hasn’t & without direction, none of the other backs seem capable of doing so. Farrell’s no captain capable of forethought either, otherwise he’s have insisted on calling b/line moves & replacing/ shuffling the back row. The back 3 didn’t fire & Watson proved an incisive disaster for England.

    1. I would much rather see Daly at 13 than out on the wing. My preferred midfield for Ireland would be 10 Farrell, 12 Te’o, 13 Daly.

  18. Just finished reading a book about Brian clough, the week before they played and won the European cup final he took the players on holiday and told them to not dare kick a ball, they had to relax on the beach because they’d played sixty off games that season.

    Think England could do with a bit of that, they’ve looked knackered all tournament.

    1. I think that is a great idea. From the look of the England team’s collective demeanour on Saturday, it would do them the world of good.

      Continuing the theme but on a different subject, a Clough quote that would seem to apply to Eddie Jones, on how he would respond if a player had a suggestion for how they should be doing things better: “We talk about it for twenty minutes and then we decide I was right.”

  19. I think the team look exhausted.

    Well it’s looking like a 5th place finish now. I can’t see England beating Ireland and getting anything from it. I think Wales will beat France but France to get a bonus point. Leaving Scotland to beat Italy.

  20. The way I see it is on Saturday the only thing we have to loose is an unbeaten home streak (I think) so time to mix it up a bit.

    Farrell at 10 a different 12 and 13 pairing, no Lawes on the flank but give one of the best Premiership players a start in Armand, look at options and try to fix the problems.

    The only thing that won’t be looked at is Scrum half, Care for me is showing why Ben Youngs should be considered number 1, Care is a finisher no doubt but he is far to slow getting the ball away, Wigglesworth is the past and is ageing for 2019 I would put behind both Dan Robson and Ben Vellacott ahead of him at least.

  21. The thing is, right, Rugby’s not complicated*: you have a far better chance of scoring tries if you have the ball. The best ways to get and keep the ball, in my opinion, are by winning the breakdown and not conceding penalties.

    Scotland and France both murdered England at the breakdown. Again, it’s relatively straightforward – get to the ruck in numbers before the opposition, and set a good body position so they can’t easily move you without conceding a penalty. If you weigh 20 stones (like Monsieur Bastareaud) and can get into that position quickly, then it’s even more effective.

    And, needless to say, giving away 16 penalties – SIXTEEN!! – is not an effective ball retention tactic.

    *Caveat: I’m a bloke tapping ill-informed opinions into a computer, not a world-class coach. I’m quite sure it is, in actual fact, a lot more complicated than this.

  22. I think the main problem is that too many of our players have been run ragged. Mako, Cole, Itoje, Lawes all look knackered and well off the pace. Lawes is not a 6 but, with all the injured back row players (Hughes didn’t look fully fit and, is now injured again!) Eddie wanted to get his best players on the pitch. Problem is that three of those players are locks and we only need two to start!

    In the backs I think that whilst the Ford/Farrell axis has continued to work, the Care/Ford axis has not. Is it just coincidence that we have got worse since Youngs got injured? Previously we have seen Youngs and Ford subbed at similar times and the combination of Care and Farrell has helped keep up the pace in the last 20 minutes. If Wiggy isn’t starting he’s not worth having in the team.
    For the Ireland game I would make quite a few changes as we have nothing left to lose and I would use as an experiment to give some other players a game and see what they can do.
    1. Marler, 2 George, 3. Sinckler, 4. Launchbury, 5. Isiekwe, 6. Robshaw, 7. Simmonds, 8. Armand, 9. Wiggy, 10. Farrell, 11. Daly, 12. T’eo, 13. JJ, 14. Solomona, 15. Watson.
    16. LCD, 17. Mako, 18. Cole, 19. Ewels, 20. Haskell, 21. Care, 22. Ford, 23. May.

    1. I pondered that too; after thinking at the start of the tournament how Care had earned a starting spot it would seem, though may be coincidence, that Youngs’ injury is one of the reasons for the sudden U-Turn in performances. I do think that fatigue, tactics and selection have all played their part but we are now maybe seeing a deficiencies from our 9 that we didn’t have before.
      I like the look of your squad Dazza, though 9 is still an issue that needs sorting long-term. For me May hasnt justified his selection, he is too lightweight and I think we are really missing Nowell’s graft off the ball .

  23. Suggestions of Youngs absence contributing to England getting worse is crazy. He went off after 10mins v Italy and we wont that comfortably and held our own against Wales and had fast ball off the breakdown. Against Scotland and France we have simply been battered at the breakdown and Youngs would have suffered the same as Care. In fact probably worse as he is slower! As others have said how can we expect to win a game when we cough up so much ball and give away penalties when we are on the attack? You simply can’t. Seems when the backs actually got some ball they were so shocked that they didn’t know what to do!

    1. Totally agree with this Rugger. Half backs can’t get a back line moving if they don’t get quick front foot ball. For the past two games we haven’t won any.

  24. I see that Eddie has just announced that he doesn’t need to make personnel changes and that he is sure they will be brilliant on Saturday!
    Well that’s reassuring! Glad there’s nothing to worry about and Eddie always knows best.
    Apparently Daly is a doubt with a foot injury just to add to the good news.
    Does that mean that if Lawes and Hughes weren’t injured we would be fielding the same back row?! Have a horrible feeling it does.

    1. Do you (and others) think that the time has come for central contracts for our boys?
      Really can’t believe our curse with injuries. I can’t help thinking some players have been rushed back ,Hughes and Daly being two of them!

  25. Injuries are just part and parcel of the modern game. Lets not forgot that Ireland, Scotland and Wales have all had their own injuries woes. There is an argument some players might have been rushed back but personally I feel its more just how hard the game is played now and freak injuries happen. BV pure example – fractured arm first club game back. Can’t predict nor protect that. However England have been really unlucky of recent – that is clear.

    1. Agree and disagree with that.
      It is a fact that England supplied the biggest lions contingent.
      The Home Nation that fields the most lions always has a sizeable hang-over in the subseqient 6ns (5ns in the past).
      England players being club contracted play 30% more rugby than their Irish colleagues (don’t know how that compares to their Welsh and Scottish colleagues)
      So yes as someone else suggested central contracts is one idea worth considering. English club owners would demand remuneration presumably!

  26. The other thing that bothers me slightly is that EJ appears to be developing a tendancy to what i call “lanacaster speak”. He’s now come out and said the defeats are a good thing as they present an opportunity to learn and grow. While i agree totally with that, it does feel a little like straw clutching and ego soothing for the benefit of the players. Of course any coach worth his salt backs his players and seeks to keep morale at a high but are the current crop really so fragile in temperament that the hymn sheet changes from week to week in order to bolster them? Can you imagine Johnno, Backy, Dawson etc needing such support? They would have been foaming at the mouth to to work out there anger and frustration on whoever was unfortunate to play them next.

  27. He’s talking garbage as far as I’m concerned Acee! After the Scotland match he said he would have the breakdown fixed by the France match, now he,s saying he needs 18 months in which time we can expect more bad results but lo and behold at the precise moment of the world cup we will be fine! I mean who is he kidding. He can ‘t suddenly start blaming the premiership when he and the other coaches put the systems in place in full knowledge of the differences. Just try playing some of the simple structures and pods the other teams use. I have to say also that Gustard’s defensive press which creates dog legs for the opposition to run into isn’t exactly working a treat!
    Actually regarding the Lancaster speak I wish Jones would stop undermining the players saying they can’t attack from deep and so on…’s quite inappropriate.
    For me this season’s mess is on the coaches not the players who look exhausted and as if they are just going through the motions and don’t even want to be on the pitch. If that continues on Saturday then something is very wrong at the centre of their relationship with Jones.

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