England win Guinness Six Nations on points difference with France second

England won the Six Nations

England won the Guinness Six Nations on points difference after France were unable to cover their deficit against Ireland in the final match of the competition.

After England triumphed 34-5 in Rome, France needed to beat Ireland, secure a bonus point and win by a greater margin themselves, and were able to manage only two of those requirements.

Their 35-27 victory in Paris capped an excellent campaign and was enough to take second, but they lost out to England by the finest of margins in the battle for the title itself.

England coach Eddie Jones said: “I’m very proud of all the players and staff. They’ve reacted superbly to the changing situations in the past couple of weeks and remained focused on the goal of winning the Six Nations.

“We’ll have a couple of days rest then get back together later next week and put everything we have into our preparation for the Autumn Nations Cup.

“It’s another really important tournament for us and I’ll be expecting the same levels of application as we work towards performing at our best.

“We’d also like to thank all of our supporters. It’s strange not having fans in the stadium and we know it’s a tough time for the country, but we felt your support throughout the campaign and it does make a difference.

“Hopefully we can continue to deliver more good moments for our fans in the coming weeks.”

Having dismantled Italy, England returned to their team hotel to have dinner and watch events in Paris unfold knowing they were in the driving seat heading into the final element.

There was already an air of celebration after Ben Youngs marked his 100th cap by crossing twice, a brilliant second try coming moments after the interval when Owen Farrell’s side looked for a response to a ragged and bad tempered first half.

Suffering from the cancellation of the Barbarians fixture that was to be their warm-up, they looked every bit a team that needed to blow away the cobwebs but eventually were well on top.

Italy fought hard but when Jamie George touched down on his 50th cap, any remote hopes of staging an upset faded and England registered the crucial bonus point when Tom Curry surged over from close range.

Henry Slade added the fifth and final try to set up an anxious wait for the outcome at the Stade de France, where France never looked like producing the fireworks required, and Ireland were unable to gain the upper hand themselves.

Farrell celebrated the Six Nations victory with his England team-mates in their hotel room in Rome.

He told BBC Two: “It feels like we are just getting started. We got four new caps today, obviously somebody got their 100 caps today in Ben (Youngs) and Jamie (George), who got his 50th.

“It feels like we have a brilliant blend of experience and youth to drive us forward, being involved in training over the last few weeks has shown that for us and we are looking forward to what is in front of us as well.”

Speaking about Youngs’ 100th cap for England, Farrell added: “I’m chuffed for him – it’s a huge achievement to reach 100 caps – second person ever to do it for England ,it’s massive. To have such a good game like he did and now to top it off with a trophy is brilliant.”

Head coach Jones has guided England to a third title in five years and Farrell paid tribute to the Australian.

He added: “He’s been brilliant. The best thing I can say is we love being here in camp, working hard to improve and hopefully you can see that when we are out on the field.”

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