England stumbles home for win over France

Eddie Jones praised his side's win against France, saying "the performance was ugly, but the result is lovely".

He added: "The bench definitely made a difference".

"The second half was fantastic, the first half probably wasn't the way we wanted to start the competition ideally but France came out really strong", she said. Obviously, we weren't satisfied with the way we played first half.

"We weren't our usual urgent selves and maybe I've got to look at the preparation I gave the team", said Jones.

"It was quite unusual".

"If we had been better at this, we would have won more games".

France's Rabah Slimani then silenced Twickenham with a try to wrestle back the lead and put England on the ropes again. But minutes later, Slimani was penalized for collapsing a scrum, and England set up an attacking lineout.

Sloppy in the line-out, slow at the breakdown and rarely creating anything of note, it was arguably the worst half of rugby since Jones took over prior to last year's tournament.

However, they were far from their best and needed a 70th minute try from replacement centre Ben Te'o to snatch victory, continuing Les Bleus' misery at this ground where they have only won once this century.

France coach Guy Noves has picked a huge pack to try to stop the hosts racking up a record 15th win in a row - and while Fickou admits England are "clinical", he and his team-mates are not concerned about the task ahead of them.

Jones is confident his men can deal with the French assault and said: "There have been 20-odd real wars between England and France".

England: M Brown; J May, J Joseph (J Nowell 69), O Farrell, E Daly; G Ford (B Te'o 69), B Youngs (D Care 66); J Marler (M Mullan 66), D Hartley (captain, J George 55), D Cole, J Launchbury (J Haskell 64), C Lawes, M Itoje, T Wood, N Hughes. But contain them they did.

"It's a game of rugby and human beings are involved, and it took us a long time to respond".

"If we do what Arsenal did on Tuesday when it was 2-0 and the team wakes up, if we do that against France, we will be in trouble because they can score some points".

The match which was plagued with plenty of errors by both sides became a kicking affair for for most of the first half as both Lopez and Farrell slotted over penalties to keep the contest a pretty even affair.

Another Farrell penalty made it 12-9 before the tries arrived in the closing stages to preserve Australian coach Eddie Jones's flawless record as England boss. England are in a position to make more history if they can win through.

In all there are eight changes to the XV that started last season's Six Nations match against France, but the visitors have also been forced through injury to shuffle their line-up. The 27-22 win at Murrayfield could prove to be a coming-of-age performance for Vern Cotter's side, the question now is whether they can sustain it into the latter rounds.


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