Friday, 4 March 2011

Foden Spoils French Grand Slam Hopes

Following a crushing victory against Italy, the match between England and France was fast becoming one of the most anticipated matches in Six Nations history.

A tense match at Twickenham left me feeling very nervous at several points in the game, however England managed to end France's winning streak of eight matches in the Six Nations.

Flood's exceptional form continues
Toby Floods inspirational kicking was evident, as he kicked England to a 9-3 lead just before half time. However costly errors by the backs meant England gave away two penalties, both converted by French fly half Dimitri Yachvili. France had the chance to lead at the break as England gave away yet another penalty, however Yachvili narrowly missed the posts by a fraction. England were looking for the perfect response as the second half kicked off, and they got one as Tom Palmer charged down a Yachvili clearance, giving England a threatening attack. Inevitably, England scored a crucial try as Ben Foden scrambled over the line to give England a 14-9 lead, Flood missing the conversion. England once again controlled set pieces well, as hooker Dylan Hartley through tremendously well in the line-out. As the match progressed, so did the wasted opportunities, as Chris Ashton failed to take advantage of some poor defending by Les Blues. However England won a crucial penalty midway through the second half. As fly half Toby Flood hobbled off with injury, up stepped Jonny Wilkinson who coolly struck a 48 metre penalty between the posts, making him the leading points scorer in world rugby. it was not only a proud moment for Wilkinson, but a proud moment for the fans, as Twickenham erupted with joy to see Wilkinson become their hero once more. England resisted any French attacks superbly, holding to win the match 17-9 in front of a enthusiastic Twickenham crowd.

It is all systems go now for England, as they prepare for their next encounter. They'll face Scotland at Twickenham which promises to be an enthralling Calcutta tie between the arch rivals. If England conquer Scotland, then they face a daunting trip to Lansdowne Road to face Ireland, a match that will decide whether England will retain their first Grand Slam title since 2003.