2019 Guinness Six Nations.

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  1. Swami

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    It's that time again, when six weeks of great rugby kicks off tomorrow night, first when France host Wales. Then on Saturday Scotland host Italy, and the big one - Ireland v England.

    Three home wins would do nicely!

    Swami
     
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    Six Nations: France 19-24 Wales
    By Dafydd Pritchard

    [​IMG]
    Tomos Williams scored Wales' opening try on his first Six Nations appearance
    Six Nations: France v Wales
    France (16) 19
    Tries
    : Picamoles, Huget Pens: Lopez 2 Drop-goal: Lopez
    Wales (0) 24
    Tries
    : T Williams, North 2 Cons: Anscombe 2, Biggar Pens: Biggar
    Wales made a dramatic winning start to the Six Nations as they staged a second-half revival to beat France.

    The hosts started superbly and surged into a 16-0 half-time lead with tries from Louis Picamoles and Yoann Huget.

    After an error-strewn first 40 minutes, Wales were unrecognisable in the second as Tomos Williams and George North crossed to put them 17-16 ahead.


    Lopez put France back in front but North intercepted a wild pass to sprint clear to seal Wales' 10th straight win.

    The match-winning score came after a moment of madness from French lock Sebastien Vahaamahina, who undermined his side's earlier good work by throwing a recklessly high-risk miss-pass which North picked off and juggled before speeding to the line.

    The British and Irish Lions wing had shown a similarly predatory instinct for his first try, pouncing on Huget's calamitous fumble on his own line.

    It was fitting that Wales' triumph should come from their ability to seize on French mistakes, as this was a match littered with errors and defined by wildly fluctuating swings of momentum.

    For Wales, it was also a result of huge relief after a first half which threatened to derail their Six Nations before it had begun in earnest.

    A clean sweep of victories in the autumn series earlier this season had helped build a groundswell of optimism around Welsh rugby with this year's World Cup on the horizon.

    Yet that sense of buoyancy threatened to be punctured by a limp first 40 minutes, ruthlessly exploited by an impressive French side.

    But Wales' second-half resurgence turned the game on its head and secured a 10th successive win for the first time since 1999.

    Wales' nightmare start
    [​IMG]
    France's number eight Louis Picamoles' opening try was his first ever against Wales
    Wales head coach Warren Gatland had declared in typically bullish fashion that he believed his side would go on to win the Six Nations if they triumphed in Paris.

    The New Zealander had some reason to be optimistic, having led Wales to seven victories from their 13 meetings with France during his reign.

    However, last year's defeat - a chaotic match which ended with 20 minutes of added time - meant Gatland had lost on three of his five visits to the Stade de France with Wales.

    This, his final trip to the French capital as Wales coach, he hoped would be a different story - and it was, in as much as this was nothing like the tight contests these two sides have produced in recent years.

    Instead, Wales were blown away by a French side playing their best rugby for an age.

    Having handed France the initiative with Picamoles' sixth-minute try - well finished, albeit against less than fierce tackling - Wales faced torrential pressure in the early exchanges.

    The visitors made matters worse with a raft of handling errors and missed tackles and, even when they fashioned a scoring opportunity, they squandered it.

    Liam Williams, one of the few bright sparks for Wales in the first half with his menacing runs in open play, had supporting runners either side of him when he broke clear but, after ignoring them, he crossed the line only for his try to be disallowed by the television match official as replays showed him to have knocked on.

    After Huget crossed for France's second try, Wales were staring at a heavy defeat but, after some wayward goal-kicking from Morgan Parra a half-time deficit of 16-0 felt like some form of mercy for Gatland's men.

    More to come.

    France: 15-Maxime Medard, 14-Damian Penaud, 13-Wesley Fofana, 12-Romain Ntamack, 11-Yoann Huget, 10-Camille Lopez, 9-Morgan Parra; 1-Jefferson Poirot, 2-Guilhem Guirado (capt), 3-Uini Atonio, 4-Sebastien Vahaamahina, 5-Paul Willemse, 6-Wenceslas Lauret, 7-Arthur Iturria, 8-Louis Picamoles

    Replacements: 16-Julien Marchand, 17-Dany Priso, 18-Demba Bamba, 19-Felix Lambey, 20-Gregory Alldritt, 21-Baptiste Serin, 22-Gael Fickou, 23-Geoffrey Doumayrou

    Wales: 15-Liam Williams, 14-George North, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Hadleigh Parkes, 11-Josh Adams, 10-Gareth Anscombe, 9-Tomos Williams; 1-Rob Evans, 2-Ken Owens, 3-Tomas Francis, 4-Alun Wyn Jones (capt), 5-Adam Beard, 6-Josh Navidi, 7-Justin Tipuric, 8-Ross Moriarty

    Replacements: 16-Elliot Dee, 17-Wyn Jones, 18-Samson Lee, 19-Cory Hill, 20-Aaron Wainwright, 21-Gareth Davies, 22-Dan Biggar, 23-Owen Watkin

    Match officials
    Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

    Touch judges: Matthew Carley (England) & Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)

    TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

    Swami
     
  3. Swami

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    Six Nations: Blair Kinghorn scores hat-trick as Scotland beat Italy
    [​IMG]
    By Tom English



    Six Nations: Blair Kinghorn hat-trick seals opening Scotland win v Italy
    Six Nations: Scotland v Italy
    Scotland
    (12) 33
    Tries: Kinghorn (3), Hogg, Harris Cons: Laidlaw (3), Russell
    Italy (3) 20
    Tries: Palazzani, Padovani, Esposito Con: Allan Pen: Allan
    Blair Kinghorn scored a hat-trick as Scotland beat Italy to record a seventh consecutive home Six Nations victory.

    The hosts trailed to a Tommaso Allan penalty, but wing Kinghorn finished off two imaginative first-half moves as the hosts asserted their authority.

    Stuart Hogg touched down a Finn Russell grubber, before Kinghorn jinked through for his sixth try in eight Tests.


    Chris Harris crossed before Guglielmo Palazzani, Edoardo Padovani and Angelo Esposito scored late consolation tries.

    It was a disappointing conclusion to a bonus-point win for Gregor Townsend's side, who played the last 10 minutes with 14 men after prop Simon Berghan was yellow carded.

    But the victory still marks just the third time in 20 attempts that Scotland have won a Six Nations opener.

    Lack of reward for one-sidedness
    Scotland's dominance, if not their sharp decision-making, started early and never, ever let up. The hosts could have - and should have - scored twice in the opening five minutes, big and handsome overlaps being ignored and opportunities wasted as a result.

    Greig Laidlaw missed the first one, opting to go himself instead of finding Jamie Ritchie outside him. Kinghorn wasted the second. The wing, who made amends in a thunderous way later on, had Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour with him and failed to spot either of them.

    In the middle of all of this, Grant Gilchrist plonked the ball on the Italian line but got done for a double movement.

    Bizarre, then, that Italy took the lead with an Allan penalty, but that was a short-lived lead. The mismatch played out soon enough.

    For much of the day, Scotland used their kicking game to pin Italy back in their own 22, and then put fierce pressure on the visitors as they attempted to exit. At times, the variety in Scotland's attack bamboozled the visitors.


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    'What a start' Kinghorn double gives Scotland lead
    The rewards were initially slow to appear on the scoreboard, but Kinghorn got the process started in the 12th minute. Italy lost control of ruck ball and Scotland made them pay, Russell spotting Kinghorn alone on the left wing. The fly-half's cross-kick was precise and the wing darted over.

    Scotland lost Sam Skinner straight away, Josh Strauss coming on in his place with Ryan Wilson moving to blind-side. Strauss showed up well.

    A second score came at the beginning of the second quarter, a Tommaso Castello fumble near his own posts gifting the Scots a scrum. From there, it was all about the home team slicing through impetuous and porous Italian defence.

    From right to left, Laidlaw shifted the point of the attack from the back of the scrum. Russell ran a wraparound play with Sam Johnson, who was terrific on his debut. Huw Jones' decoy run took away some Italian defenders, Russell took away another, Hogg took away three more when he got on the ball, and then got his pass way to Kinghorn.

    The wing ran it in and Laidlaw converted and Scotland led 12-3. It stayed that way until half-time, which was a surprise given the one-sidedness of the game and the non-existence of the Italians as an attacking force.

    Scots pour on pain, then switch off

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    'A lovely little dink' - Hogg extends Scotland's lead
    Scotland poured on the pain after the break. A set-play off a line-out and Seymour's scything break were the catalyst for the third try. With a penalty advantage, Russell grubbered for Hogg, who got there a millimetre ahead of Esposito. The conversion made it 19-3.

    Kinghorn's hat-trick came soon after, Ritchie running a gorgeous line to send Italy scrambling again. Laidlaw fed it on to Kinghorn, who dummied his way through a wretchedly soft visiting defence. For a wing who probably would not have been in the team had it not been for Sean Maitland's injury, it was a hell of a moment and was Scotland's first Six Nations hat-trick.

    You have got to go all the way back to March 1989 and Iwan Tukalo to find Scotland's last treble in this competition, back when there were just the five teams.

    A coruscating Hogg break was the spark for Scotland's fifth try. Hogg took Italy to the cleaners and found support in Russell and Strauss who put Harris over. Game done at 33-3.

    What happened next was a Scottish shambles and an Italian freak show. Scotland emptied the bench, Berghan got binned, and the wheels fell off in the most gobsmacking way.

    Palazzani sniped in from close range in the 71st minute, Padovani ran in an easy second, and more chaos in Scotland's defence gave Esposito a third.

    Nobody was home at the back for Scotland. Nobody was switched-on. Three Italian tries in seven minutes took some of the feel-good out of it for the home crowd, who were not quite sure what to do, or think, at the end.


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    Six Nations 2019: Townsend 'very pleased' with Scotland's winning start
    Line-ups
    Scotland: Hogg; Seymour, Jones, Johnson, Kinghorn; Russell, Laidlaw; Dell, McInally, Nel, Toolis, Gilchrist, Skinner, Ritchie, Wilson.

    Replacements: Kerr (for McInally, 63), Bhatti (for Dell, 58), Berghan (for Nel, 50), Graham (for Wilson, 72), Strauss (for Skinner, 13), Price (for Laidlaw, 58), Hastings (for Russell, 76), Harris for Jones, 58).

    Italy: Hayward; Esposito, Morisi, Castello, Campagnaro; Allan, Palazzani; Lovotti, Ghiraldini, Ferrari, Sisi, Budd, Negri, Steyn, Parisse.

    Replacements: Bigi (for Ghiraldini, 59), Traore (for Lovotti, 51) Pasquali (for Ferrari, 52), Tuivaiti (for Negri, 58), Ruzza (for Budd, 51), Benvenuti (for Morisi, 78), McKinley (for Allan, 26-35, then 71), Padovani (for Castello, 48).

    Match officials
    Referee: Luke Pearce (England)

    Touch judges: Mathieu Raynal (France) & Shuhei Kubo (Japan)

    TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

    Swami
     
  4. Swami

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    Six Nations: England beat Ireland 32-20 in Dublin
    [​IMG]
    By Tom Fordyce

    Chief sports writer at the Aviva Stadium

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    Reaction - Ireland v England live coverage
    Farrell wins battle of fly-halves
    [​IMG]
    Farrell led a brilliant defensive effort that subdued Ireland's attacking flair
    It had been eight years since England's last Six Nations try in Dublin but they had to wait just 95 seconds more as Farrell struck first in his battle with opposite number Sexton.

    After muscular carries into the Irish 22 from Tuilagi and Billy Vunipola England went left, and it was Farrell's fast, flat cut-out pass that put Daly in space to draw the last man and send May over in the corner.

    Farrell landed the conversion from the touchline before Sexton's penalty brought a frantic contest back to 7-3, and on a freezing Dublin afternoon the men in green then turned up the heat.

    England survived the sin-binning of 20-year-old flanker Tom Curry after his late hit on Keith Earls but could not hold out when Sexton kicked a penalty to the corner and Healy hammered over from a yard out.

    But they struck back again when Daly's grubber kick through was juggled and spilt by Jacob Stockdale under pressure from Jack Nowell, Daly diving on the loose ball for the score and Farrell stroking over the conversion.

    England's fly-half then struck a perfect penalty from out wide again after Mako Vunipola had been correctly denied a try for a double movement for a seven-point lead at the interval.

    English defence proves critical
    [​IMG]
    Prop Mako Vunipola led from the front with 23 tackles as England's pack stood up to Ireland's forwards
    Ireland had not conceded as many first-half points in a Six Nations match in Dublin for 13 years, and had lost the last 20 games in which they were more than a point behind at half-time.

    But after England failed to work a drop-goal after a long spell deep in Irish territory, Ulster's Stockdale hacked long, Kyle Sinckler was penalised for a late tackle on Garry Ringrose and Sexton reduced the margin to just four points.

    With England lock Maro Itoje off injured the belief started to swell among the home support, the roars growing louder as Farrell missed a penalty - conceded by Sexton for hands in the ruck - that by his standards was straightforward.

    Both sides freshened up their packs as the minutes ticked away and the tension grew.

    And it was England who struck the pivotal blow with a fine move at pace from a scrum inside their own half.

    Ben Youngs ran left, Slade threw a miss-pass out to May on the touchline and ran on to gather the winger's clever kick ahead to dive on the ball for England's third try.

    Farrell again tugged the conversion wide but banged over a penalty moments later after replacement Courtney Lawes's big hit in midfield, and with the scoreboard showing 25-13 with less than 10 minutes left the choruses of England fans' anthem Swing Low began to sound.

    Slade spotted Sexton's desperate pass in his own 22 and gathered brilliantly to slide over for his second try, and English celebrations could begin.

    With only one more away match to come in this championship, a humdinger in Cardiff at the end of the month in round three, England at last have the momentum that had slipped away during a testing, turbulent 2018.

    Man of the match: Mako Vunipola


    Eddie Jones delighted with 'top of the class' Mako Vunipola
    The beating heart of England's relentless defence, an all-encompassing performance from a prop whose absence through injury England had keenly felt.

    What they said
    Former England scrum-half Matt Dawson on BBC Radio 5 live: "If there was one team who was going to bloom in the last 20 minutes, you'd have thought it would be Ireland.

    "But Ireland couldn't get out of their 22 and England capitalised. When you win in Dublin against the second-best team in the world, you are going to be flying for the rest of the tournament."

    Former Ireland winger Denis Hickie: "I don't think Ireland have been overconfident. They will be very hard on themselves after that game.

    "Ireland were favourites last year and won the Grand Slam then took that form into November. They just haven't played well enough today."




    Six Nations 2019: England beat Ireland up - Schmidt
    Line-ups
    Ireland: Henshaw, Earls, Ringrose, Aki, Stockdale, Sexton, Murray, Healy, Best, Furlong, Toner, J. Ryan, O'Mahony, Van der Flier, Stander.

    Replacements: Larmour for Earls (41), Carbery for Ringrose (73), Cooney for Murray (77), Kilcoyne for Healy (62), Cronin for Best (67), Porter for Furlong (62), Roux for Toner (57), O'Brien for Stander (65).

    England: Daly, Nowell, Slade, Tuilagi, May, Farrell, Youngs, M. Vunipola, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Kruis, Wilson, Curry, B. Vunipola.

    Replacements: Ashton for Nowell (74), Ford for Tuilagi (77), Genge for M. Vunipola (77), Cowan-Dickie for George (77), Williams for Sinckler (65), Hughes for Itoje (54), Lawes for Kruis (53).

    Not Used: Robson.

    Sin-bin: Curry (13).

    Swami
     
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    Six Nations: Ireland defeat Scotland 22-13 at Murrayfield to get off the mark
    [​IMG]
    By Tom English


    We knew it was going to be attritional - and it was. We hoped it was going to an epic - and it was that, too. It was endlessly thunderous and endlessly fascinating. Scotland looking to put themselves in the hunt for the Six Nations championship for the first time against Ireland who were staying alive in defence of their title. Magnificent.

    When Laidlaw put over a penalty to open the scoring it was the least the Scots deserved for an explosive beginning. When Ireland responded with a try from Murray it was a score that came against the run of play.



    'That is brilliant' - Stockdale opens commanding Ireland lead
    And it was hellish for the home side, a self-inflicted wound after Stockdale's kick ahead sparked bizarre confusion between Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland. Seymour gathered it and threw a pass to his fellow wing that was too high and too ugly. Maitland got a hand to it but no more. When it went loose Murray pounced and scored.

    Sexton missed a simple conversion, the first illustration, perhaps, that the physical pounding he'd been taking was having an impact. Sexton did not look himself out there.

    Before the first quarter was over, Ireland had two huge moments. Firstly Hogg, a menace in the early exchanges, went off injured. Blair Kinghorn, the hat-trick hero of last week, came on for him. Next, they scored their second try.

    Peter O'Mahony and Sexton worked a scissors play that put Stockdale away and the young wing had no bother executing it from there. Murray added the conversion and Ireland had a handsome 12-3 lead.

    Scotland pretty much owned it for the rest of the half. Finn Russell orchestrated things wonderfully, his range of passing beautiful, his tactical kicking pin-sharp. He was a joy. In the physicality stakes, Scotland had some hardy boys to go toe-to-toe with Ireland's big men.

    The entire home pack got on top of their opposite numbers for a spell and Scotland had chances. Josh Strauss, Jamie Ritchie and their switched-on brothers were immense. Sexton, battered and bruised, left the field after 24 minutes and soon the Scots were back in it.

    Again, it was Russell who sparked it. He was still a mile from the Irish posts when intercepting Carbery and haring down field. For a second it looked like he might go all the way but Earls covered brilliantly and hauled him down. Russell stayed in the moment while on the floor, picking out Johnson's clever run. Johnson went over and Laidlaw converted and the gap reduced to two.



    Six Nations: Was Hogg fouled before Ireland opener?
    'Scotland had chances - and didn't take them'
    Scotland had more chances - and didn't take them. More than 70% of the first half was played down Ireland's end of the pitch and the Scots couldn't bust the Irish defence. Just before the end of the half they were camped on Ireland's five-metre line for minutes on end, going through 25 phases and stretching Ireland almost to breaking point, but not quite.

    You wondered then how significant that moment might prove at the end - and wondered once again after Ireland got their third try just before the hour. Rob Kearney provided the first thrust, then Carbery made amends for his earlier blunder by going through Allan Dell and Rob Harley and screamed away before flinging the try-making pass to Earls.

    Carbery's conversion pushed the lead out to nine, Laidlaw's penalty brought it back to six but a penalty of his own from the Irish fly-half made it nine again.

    The ferocity was uninterrupted, the tackle count on both sides stratospheric. Even with 10 minutes left to play, Scotland had made an astonishing 225 tackles and Ireland had 149. Dell, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Ritchie and Strauss were in the mid-to-high 20s. Ireland's individual numbers weren't as eye-popping, but they were made to work like demons for everything they got.

    They closed out the win, Scotland's pursuit of a losing bonus point crashing when they had an attacking line-out stolen from them, their third error out of touch. Ireland's defensive intensity snuffed them out. Joe Schmidt will be a relieved man. His counterpart, Gregor Townsend, will be deeply frustrated at missed chances and a missed opportunity.

    Line-ups
    Scotland: Hogg; Seymour, H Jones, Johnson, Maitland; Russell, Laidlaw; Dell, McInally, Berghan, Gilchrist, Gray, Wilson, Ritchie, Strauss.

    Replacements: Kinghorn for Hogg (16), P. Horne for Johnson (64), Price for Laidlaw (69), Bhatti for Dell (69), Brown for McInally (64), Rae for Berghan (69).

    Ireland: Kearney; Earls, C Farrell, Aki, Stockdale; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Best, Furlong, J Ryan, Roux, O'Mahony, O'Brien, Conan.

    Replacements: Carbery for Sexton (23), (Larmour for Stockdale (72), Cooney for Murray (77), Kilcoyne for Healy (57), Cronin for Best (72), Porter for Furlong (68), Dillane for Roux (68), van der Flier for O'Brien (64).

    Ref: Romain Poite (France).

    Swami
     
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    Six Nations: Wales beat Italy 26-15 to equal record run of victories
    By Gareth Griffiths

    BBC Sport Wales at the Stadio Olimpico

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    Gatland hopes Wales 'go under the radar' before England showdown
    Former England scrum-half Matt Dawson had described Wales' alterations as risky, despite the opposition, although Gatland had made as many last year when Wales defeated Italy 38-14 in March to start the current run of wins.

    Not many of the new Wales inclusions in this experimental side made compelling cases to start against Eddie Jones' side in two weeks, although Wasps flanker Thomas Young impressed on his Six Nations debut.

    Centre Jonathan Davies captained Wales for the first time while flankers Young and Aaron Wainwright, wing Jonah Holmes and scrum-half Aled Davies all made their first Six Nations starts.

    Josh Navidi was named man of the match after moving to number eight with Ross Moriarty dropping to the bench, alongside usual captain Alun Wyn Jones.

    Italy have now lost a record 19 matches in this tournament with their last victory coming against Scotland in February 2015.



    Six Nations: Beating Italy 'a lesson in how to win ugly' - Gatland
    Seeking a first home win since beating Ireland six years ago, the hosts made a terrible start when hooker Elliot Dee forced a turnover penalty and Biggar opened the scoring after 62 seconds.

    The fly-half added three more first-half penalties as Wales dominated the early scrums and enjoyed superior possession and territory.

    But for all Wales' pressure, Italy scored the first try after capitalising on a sliced Adams kick. The decision to turn down a kick at goal and opt for an attacking line-out was justified when Steyn eventually burrowed over.

    Tommaso Allan converted and Wales led only 12-7 at the interval.

    Jones comes on to lift Wales' performance
    [​IMG]
    Watkin scored Wales' second try late on in the game to ensure victory
    With Italy's driving line-out proving their most effective weapon, Wales' discipline let them down at the start of the second half and Allan slotted over a penalty to reduce the gap further.

    Wales' attack was ponderous and Gatland responded by sending on squad skipper Alun Wyn Jones alongside Dillon Lewis after 50 minutes.

    But Biggar missed two kicks in the space of a couple of minutes as Wales failed to build any momentum.

    The mediocrity finally lifted when scrum-half Aled Davies launched a break from a scrum down the right-hand side. When the ball was switched left, full-back Liam Williams sliced through the Italian defence to set up the try for Adams in one of the only cutting line breaks Wales produced.

    Centre Davies thought he had scored Wales' second try after following up his own chip kick, but he fumbled the ball in the act of scoring.

    The second score did come when centre Watkin dived on to a clever chipped Gareth Anscombe kick to score the visitors' second try.

    Italy responded with an incisive Allan break to set up Padovani to score before Young was denied a deserved try with the final move of the match because of an earlier forward pass.

    That summed up Wales' day - another chance gone astray because of poor execution.

    A record-equalling win it might have been, but Wales will know they require a much improved performance if they are to beat England and become history-makers in two weeks.

    Defeat England on that day at the Principality Stadium and this Rome trip will soon be forgotten.

    Man of the match - Josh Navidi
    [​IMG]
    Number eight Navidi was at the heart of all Wales' key moments
    Line-ups
    Italy: Hayward; Padovani, Campagnaro, Morisi, Esposito; Allan, Palazzani; Quaglio, Ghiraldini, Ferrari, Sisi, Budd, Negri, Steyn, Parisse

    Replacements: McKinley for Allan (48), Gori for Palazzani (60), Traore for Quaglio (51), Bigi for Ghiraldini (60), Pasquali for Ferrari (60), Ruzza for Budd (52), Barbini for Negri (57)

    Not Used: Benvenuti

    Wales: L Williams; Holmes, J Davies, Watkin, Adams; Biggar, A Davies; Smith, Dee, Lee, Ball, Beard, Wainwright, Young, Navidi

    Replacements: Amos for L. Williams (67), Anscombe for Biggar (55), G. Davies for A. Davies (63), W. Jones for Smith (63), Elias for Dee (67), Lewis for Lee (51), A. Jones for Ball (51), Moriarty for Navidi (67)

    Ref: Mathieu Raynal (France)

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    England 44-8 France: Jonny May hat-trick inspires emphatic Six Nations victory
    [​IMG]
    By Tom Fordyce

    Chief sports writer at Twickenham




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    Six Nations 2019: England demolish France 44-8 at Twickenham - highlights
    Six Nations Championship
    England:
    (30) 44
    Tries:
    May 3, Slade, penalty try, Farrell Con: Farrell 3 Pens: Farrell 2
    France: (8) 8
    Tries:
    Penaud Pens: Parra
    England blew France away with a first-half hat-trick of tries from Jonny May to continue their fabulous start to the Six Nations.

    May went over three times in the left-hand corner in the first 30 minutes as England's forwards steamrollered France and their backs' kicking game cut them apart.

    Eddie Jones' men added two more in the second half, one through the relentless Owen Farrell and the other a penalty try after Chris Ashton had been brought down without the ball.


    France had no answer to England's physicality, their back three turned inside out by the constant kicks rained in behind them, and their appalling run at Twickenham goes on.

    England have now won 10 of their last 13 Six Nations matches against France, Les Bleus on a horrible run of eight defeats in their last nine with the two sides due to meet at the group stages of this autumn's World Cup.

    With Italy and Scotland to come at home next month - one who have never won at this stadium, the other not in 36 years - the clash against Wales in Cardiff in a fortnight's time is shaping up to be the decisive match in this year's championship.


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    England players delight at 'special day'
    May Day comes early
    England had scored early tries in each of their past five matches and they accelerated out of the blocks once again.

    The men in white counter-attacked after a French knock-on, Daly cut a swathe through the scattered French rearguard and kicked ahead into acres of space for May to race clear and touch the loose ball down.

    Farrell slid the conversion wide but banged over a penalty either side of a straightforward one for Morgan Parra for 11-3, and as a rain squall blew in on the cold wind, both sides looked to kick into space in their opponent's back field.

    And it was May who struck again. Farrell's long miss-pass after a series of heavyweight drives at the French line left the winger one on one with Damian Penaud but standing still, yet he stepped his opposite number with insouciance to dance into the corner.


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    Eddie Jones delighted England 'kept their focus' against France
    With less than half an hour gone he had his hat-trick as England's thundering forwards left the French defensive line reeling before Ashton dabbed the ball into the empty spaces behind for May to sprint through and slide across the try-line.

    Yoann Huget worked an opening down the England right for Penaud to dive into the corner, but it was the briefest of interruptions as yet another kick through put Ashton in the clear.

    The 31-year-old was hauled down a metre from the line but prop Kyle Sinckler spun a scrum-half's pass out left for Henry Slade to step inside Guilhem Guirado.

    England had their fourth try and a bonus-point before the half-time whistle had been blown, Farrell sliding over his conversion for 30-8 and the cavorting home crowd giving their side a standing ovation as they jogged for the dressing room.

    England find consistency to bolster belief
    It was to get worse for France. Slade picked off a loose pass on a rare French foray into England's 22, and when he kicked ahead for the galloping Ashton, Gael Fickou's desperate chase ended with him hauling down his opposite number without the ball.

    Referee Nigel Owens ran to the posts to signal a penalty try and then sent Fickou to the sin-bin to compound the visitors' woes.

    France were on the ropes and it was Farrell to land the next blow, following up his own kick after Ben Youngs took a quick penalty and May could not quite gather for yet another try.

    There was a question of whether May had hooked an arm around Antoine Dupont as they fought for the loose ball, just as there had been about how likely Ashton would have been to score without Fickou's illegal intervention, but with a 34-point lead and more than a quarter of the contest still to come, England did not care.

    Courtney Lawes brought another roar as he sent the giant Mathieu Bastareaud backwards in the tackle before the intensity dipped as Jones threw on his replacements.

    Four years ago England stuck 55 points on France and yet later that year crashed out of the World Cup at the group stages.

    But after backing up last week's impressive win over Ireland in Dublin with this performance, their supporters will be believing that this time around might be different.

    Man of the Match - Jonny May
    [​IMG]
    Leicester winger Jonny May has scored 22 tries in 42 international appearances for England
    "Scoring tries is enjoyable and it's special at Twickenham to score for your country," May told Radio 5 live. "I really am just getting on the back of excellent work from everybody else, and what I'm doing is just as important as what everyone else is doing and it's just a cog in the wheel."

    'Complete control from England' - analysis
    Former England international and BBC Radio 5 live pundit Matt Dawson

    "It was ominous for France even after a minute. England are better drilled than last year, I think they are doing things earlier in fewer phases and in better positions.

    "England were brilliant but France kept going, they didn't throw the towel in. It was complete control from England for most of the 80 minutes though.

    "The game in Cardiff has enormous consequences. Don't underestimate Wales, they don't need motivating. They will be fully pumped."

    Line-ups
    England: Daly; Ashton, Slade, Tuilagi, May, Farrell, Youngs; M Vunipola, George, Sinckler, Lawes, Kruis, Wilson, Curry, B Vunipola

    Replacements: Moon for M Vunipola (44), Launchbury for Kruis (47), Hughes for Curry (47), Nowell for Ashton (52), Cole for Sinckler (57), Cowan-Dickie for George (62), Ford for Tuilagi (62)

    France: Huget; Penaud, Bastareaud, Doumayrou, Fickou; Lopez, Parra; Poirot, Guirado, Bamba, Vahaamhina, Lambey, Camara, Iturria, Picamoles

    Replacements: Ramos for Huget (41), Ntamack for Penaud (47), Dupont for Parra (47), Aldegheri for Bamba (57), Willemse for Vahaamhina, Alldritt for Lambey (70)

    Not used: Bourgarit, Priso

    Ref: Nigel Owens (Wales)

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