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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 March 2006, 17:19 GMT
Robinson condemns 'awful' England
Andy Robinson watches on as England slump to defeat
Robinson's team never recovered after a woeful first half
England coach Andy Robinson gave a brutally honest assessment of his side's performance after they were crushed 31-6 by France in Paris.

"We were awful," he said. "We have performed poorly in all aspects of the game, right from the first whistle.

"When that happens in France and you hear the crowd and the band playing, you have nowhere to go.

"Since I've been involved this is the most disappointing performance we have had. We never got going."

The defeat, England's seventh in 14 Six Nations games since winning the World Cup, equals their worst margin of defeat against France, a 37-12 loss in Paris in 1972.

The first 20 minutes were shocking
England skipper Martin Corry

England face Ireland next Saturday in the final game of the Six Nations but Robinson admits that after error-strewn displays against Scotland and now France, his side have little chance of claiming the title.

"This is very, very disappointing and as the person in charge it is important I take responsibility for it," he added.

"At no stage did we put pressure on the French. The players were stunned in the dressing room.

"Whenever we had the ball we either kicked very poorly and didn't find touch or we knocked on and turned it over.

England skipper Martin Corry
Corry tries to rally his troops as the game slips away from England
"We know when you play France that if you give them opportunities you will do well to stay in the game. We gave them far too many opportunities to show how good they were.

"I am very confident in what we are trying to achieve. I am disappointed for the players and the magnificent support.

"We still have a chance of winning the Six Nations, even though it is slim. We have to respond against Ireland; we did not respond in Paris."

Captain Martin Corry looked shell-shocked afterwards and struggled to explain why England were so poor.

"There were a lot of mistakes and we all have to put our hands up," Corry said.

"We've gone out and tried to play, and we've played poorly, there's nothing else to say really.

It was important for us to start quickly because England are so strong
France scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili
"It's a huge setback. We said after the Scotland defeat we needed to come to Paris and put in a good performance to forget the Scotland game. Unfortunately we haven't done that.

"Now the pressure is going to pile on us, but more from within than from anywhere else."

The Leicester number eight admitted his side were made to pay for a "shocking" start after France crossed for their first try after just 41 seconds.

"They got a good start but at some points all we had to do was keep hold of the ball and show composure," he added. "We didn't do that and the first 20 minutes were shocking.

"It was poor. There were glimpses in the second 20 minutes of the first half we could come back. The scrum started to get on top, we got a bit of ball and started to find a few holes.

"It wasn't all doom and gloom at half-time but the first 20 minutes was a terrible start for us and we just never really recovered."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Highlights: France 31-6 England


Interview: England coach Andy Robinson


Interview: England captain Martin Corry



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