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England 34-10 France

England (29) 34
Tries: Cueto, Flutey 2, Armitage, Worsley Cons: Flood 3 Pens: Flood

France (0) 10
Tries: Szarzewski, Malzieu

By Rob Hodgetts

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Highlights - England 34-10 France

England stunned France with a magnificent first-half display to run out five-try winners at Twickenham.

Martin Johnson's under-pressure side answered their critics in emphatic fashion and led 29-0 at the break.

Mark Cueto, Riki Flutey, Delon Armitage and Joe Worsley all crossed in an astonishing first period before Flutey added his second.

France improved in the second half and scored through Dimitri Szarzewski and Julien Malzieu but the game was won.

England's attacking ambition took them to the top of the 2009 Six Nations try-scoring list with 13, but they will rue the undisciplined defeat by Ireland in Dublin which robbed them of a tilt at the title.

Johnson's men, berated beforehand for giving away 43 penalties and earning six yellow cards in this year's tournament, still conceded 13 penalties but retained 15 players for the full 80 minutes for the first time this year.

And they came out determined to prove that all the talk about indiscipline was masking their development as a side.

With barely a minute gone, Flutey found himself running at French talisman Sebastien Chabal and ghosted around the big man before timing a perfect pass to Cueto to scamper under the posts, converted by Flood.

France shrugged off the early shock and grew into the game, showing signs of threat with a bullocking run from 20-year-old centre Mathieu Bastareaud.

For a brief spell, it looked as though England's fast start was in danger of being derailed after they gave away a couple of quick penalties, with veteran lock Simon Shaw the culprit. But Morgan Parra missed the first kick at goal and France declined the second.

But rather than the penalty disease that has plagued England in recent matches, this was a mere sniffle and England struck again soon after.

Joe Worsley
Worsley dived over to make it 29-0 at the break

From quick ball off the top of a line-out on the right Cueto took Flood's inside ball before offloading to Flutey outside him to race home.

France were shell-shocked and playing without any of their normal vigour, while England were playing fast, simple, disciplined rugby.

Blind-side flanker Tom Croft raced over soon after but was called back for an Armitage forward pass, before a Flood grubber kick nearly gave Flutey another score under the posts inside the last 10 minutes of the half.

But rather than resting on their laurels, England went for the kill and scored again after recycling the ball wide to Armitage to dive over on the left.

Very bad day for us - Harinordoquy

And as an encore, Worsley also went over on the left after scrum-half Harry Ellis's kick ahead had set up a forward base on the right side of the French line.

England were enjoying themselves and struck again straight after the break. Andy Goode, on for Flood who hurt his shoulder as he went for the line in the build-up to Worsley's try, snaffled the ball from Yannick Jauzion's fumble and fed Armitage, who hared off upfield.

The full-back spotted Flutey inside him and delayed his pass to give the centre the room to sprint under the posts for try number five.

606: DEBATE
Sausage1966

French spirit may have seemed crushed but it was Johnson's men who relaxed and the visitors, refreshed by a raft of replacements, scored through Szarzewski and Malzieu as England reverted to a spell of indiscipline and received a lecture from referee Stuart Dickinson.

To France's credit, they subdued England for the rest of the half, though Armitage went close with another searing break behind opposition lines.

But Johnson's tenure as England manager is secured for now and the fans will look forward with more optimism than in recent times.


England: Armitage, Cueto, Tindall, Flutey, Monye, Flood, Ellis, Sheridan, Mears, Vickery, Borthwick, Shaw, Croft, Worsley, Easter.

Replacements: Tait for Monye (72), Goode for Flood (40), Care for Ellis (55), White for Sheridan (66), Hartley for Mears (57), Haskell for Shaw (57), Kennedy for Worsley (68).

France: Medard, Malzieu, Bastareaud, Jauzion, Heymans, Trinh-Duc, Parra, Faure, Szarzewski, Marconnet, Nallet, Thion, Dusautoir, Chabal, Harinordoquy.

Replacements: Fritz for Bastareaud (46), Traille for Trinh-Duc (46), Tillous-Borde for Parra (59), Domingo for Faure (51), Kayser for Szarzewski (59), Bonnaire for Thion (46), Picamoles for Harinordoquy (68).

Att: 82,000

Ref: S Dickinson (Australia).



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see also
England can offer more - Johnson
15 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
England v France photos
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Short-term England need vision
13 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Defiant Borthwick remains upbeat
12 Mar 09 |  English
Raphael Ibanez on England v France
13 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Jeremy Guscott column
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England change three for France
11 Mar 09 |  English
French coach makes referee plea
11 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Chabal to switch for England game
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Skipper Borthwick defies critics
10 Mar 09 |  English
Ireland 14-13 England
28 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
France 21-16 Wales
27 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
France 22-13 Scotland
14 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Wales 23-15 England
14 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
England 36-11 Italy
07 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Ireland 30-21 France
07 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Foden & Morgan get England calls
14 Jan 09 |  English
Strettle targets England comeback
11 Oct 08 |  Harlequins


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