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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 March 2007, 17:21 GMT
Twickenham, London - 11 March, 2007
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England captain Mike Catt
Catt celebrates England's victory
Captain Mike Catt hailed England's all-round display after his side beat France 26-18 in the RBS Six Nations to go level at the top of the table.

Catt told BBC Sport: "We got on the front foot and had the balls to play the way we trained, and it worked.

"The feeling, the emotional side of it, is fantastic. The boys played for each other and played to their strengths.

"There's still a hell of a lot to learn, but from a team put together in five days it was awesome."

The result draws England level on six points with France and Ireland and all three will be going for the title on a dramatic final Saturday next weekend.

We saw glimpses of the sort of rugby we could play but you've got to be consistent to be at the top of the world game

Brian Ashton, England coach

Coach Brian Ashton was delighted by the victory and gave particular praise to the pack who bounced back from the mauling they endured in losing to Ireland a fortnight ago and the subsequent criticism of that performance.

"They were pretty fired up," said Ashton. "There was a lot of talk about the pack being under-powered and I thought, certainly in the second half, they could take the French on.

"By and large they worked twice as hard as they did in Dublin."

But Ashton added that the win at Twickenham would be worth nothing if his side failed to follow it up with another good showing in Cardiff against Wales in the final round of the Six Nations.

"I'm obviously delighted with the win and I'm pretty pleased with the performance, although there are areas we need to work on," he added.

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"I'm being really honest. This is a one-off game and we've got to back up performances like this. We've got to be consistent.

"Whilst it's great to get a win under our belts, we know we have a lot of work to do.

"We saw glimpses of the sort of rugby we could play today but you've got to be consistent to be at the top of the world game."

England took the lead for the first time early in the second half with a try from Toby Flood, who was making his first start and ended the game with 16 points.

Having been pegged back by the boot of Dimitri Yachvili, a second try sealed the victory, with Mike Tindall going over after a break from Shane Geraghty.

There's still a long way to go but we're going to develop and get better as a group of players - what a future for English rugby

Mike Catt, England captain

And Catt was full of praise for Flood and Geraghty, who came off the bench for his debut in place of the injured Flood at stand-off.

"It's not often a 35-year-old, lacking in a lot of speed, according to some of the press, makes a break like that," Catt said of his role in setting up the opening try.

"Floody was there and stepped up and Shane made a massive impact when he came on. You can't ask for any more.

"There's still a long way to go. But we're going to develop and get better as a group of players. What a future for English rugby."

Flood was equally complimentary about Catt, as was man of the match Tom Rees.

"When you have a guy with so many caps under his belt controlling things, for guys like me and Shane it's great," said Flood.

Flanker Rees added: "We've had so many changes, it's good to have someone with so many grey hairs. It was nice to have a steady hand in control.

"We know we didn't turn up at Croke Park (against Ireland) and the pride and passion in wearing the shirt showed through today."




SEE ALSO
England 26-18 France
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