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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 March 2006, 16:42 GMT
France 31-6 England
Florian Fritz celebrates France centre partner Damien Traille's try
France (16) 31
Tries: Fritz, Traille, Dominici
Cons: Yachvili 2
Pens: Yachvili 4
England (3) 6
Pens: Hodgson, Goode
England's Six Nations hopes were left hanging by a thread after they crashed to a record-equalling defeat in Paris.

The French capitalised on a litany of English errors to establish a 13-0 lead through a first-minute Florian Fritz try and two Dimitri Yachvili penalties.

Yachvili added another, to a solitary Charlie Hodgson kick, before half-time.

Andy Goode, on for Hodgson, landed a penalty on the resumption but France sealed victory with further tries from Damien Traille and Christophe Dominici.

Yachvili also added another penalty and conversion before the end to ensure England equalled their worst defeat (37-12) in Paris 34 years ago.

Mathematically, if France lose in Wales, England can still win the Six Nations title by thrashing Ireland next Saturday, but that is unlikely on this evidence.

England's basic skills were woefully inadequate in a performance that raises further questions about their ability to launch a successful World Cup defence next year.

Jamie Noon (top) and Josh Lewsey make a hash of a high ball in the first minute
Noon and Lewsey made a hash of a high ball ahead of France's first try
France were hardly at their fluid best either, but they didn't need to be such was the poverty of England's play.

There were only 40 seconds on the clock when Fritz crossed their line for the opening try.

A lack of communication saw Jamie Noon and Josh Lewsey both miss a high bomb and Yachvili swiftly shipped on the loose ball for Fritz to dive over.

Yachvili added the extras and landed a penalty in the sixth minute after Joe Worsley was penalised for holding on in the tackle.

The elementary errors flowed from the visitors; a sloppy pass from Mark Cueto, a poor Ben Cohen kick, a Hodgson knock-on.

The first 20 minutes were shocking and we never recovered
Martin Corry
England were then penalised as hooker Steve Thompson popped out of a scrum, and Yachvili duly made it 13-0.

It could have been much worse. First Yachvili missed another shot at goal after Steve Borthwick pulled down a French maul.

Then Thomas Castaignede delayed his pass to Aurelien Rougerie, who knocked on, before Michalak missed a straightforward drop-goal attempt.

Hodgson's woes continued with a missed tackle on Yannick Nyanga and a sliced kick to touch, while a penalty - which might have brought some relief - hit an upright.

Captain Martin Corry tried his best to lift the siege with a series of charges, but when Matt Dawson dived into a ruck on the half-hour, Yachvili kicked France further ahead.

It was important for us to start quickly because England are so strong
Dimitri Yachvili
England finally managed to get themselves into the French 22 as half-time beckoned, and Hodgson got their first points on the board after a deliberate knock-on from Olivier Magne.

It was to be the fly-half's last act though, coach Andy Robinson removing him from the action at the interval and sending on Goode for the second half.

The Leicester man immediately made his presence felt, landing a penalty after another deliberate infringement by Magne.

England gradually started to get a foothold in the game, establishing a strong platform at the scrummage, while Yachvili kept them in it with a missed drop-goal and penalty.

England sent on a raft of replacements - Harry Ellis, Tom Voyce, Lee Mears, Andrew Sheridan and Lawrence Dallaglio all appeared in quick succession.

But the game was effectively up 13 minutes from time when Traille burst clear and chipped ahead to the line.

The retreating Ellis couldn't collect the loose ball and Traille pounced on it to score.

Yachvili missed the conversion but hammered the nail into England's coffin with another penalty after an infringement by Simon Shaw, another replacement.

There was just time for Dominici to intercept Goode's pass and add to England's humiliation, Yachvili's conversion delivering the last rites.

France: Castaignede; Rougerie, Fritz, Traille, Dominici; Michalak, Yachvili; Marconnet, Ibanez, De Villiers; Pelous (capt), Thion; Nyanga, Magne, Lievremont.
Replacements: Szarzewski, Milloud, Nallet, Bonnaire, Elissalde, Valbon, Heymans.

England: Lewsey; Cueto, Noon, Tindall, Cohen; Hodgson, Dawson; Stevens, Thompson, White; Borthwick, Grewcock; Worsley, Moody, Corry (capt).
Replacements: Mears, Sheridan, Shaw, Dallaglio, Ellis, Goode, Voyce.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)

Touch judges: Alan Lewis (Ireland) and Nigel Owens (Wales)

Highlights: France 31-6 England

Interview: England captain Martin Corry

Interview: Dmitri Yachvili

England ratings
12 Mar 06 |  Six Nations
Experts' verdict
12 Mar 06 |  Six Nations
France v England match stats
12 Mar 06 |  Six Nations
France 37-12 Italy
25 Feb 06 |  Six Nations
Scotland 18-12 England
25 Feb 06 |  Six Nations
Six Nations - final permutations
12 Mar 06 |  Six Nations


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