France beat England to win the Six Nations Grand Slam for the first time in 12 years
France won the Grand Slam and a first Six Nations title in 12 years with a 25-13 victory over England in a thrilling test match in Paris.
After Ireland secured a bonus point victory over Scotland earlier on Saturday, France knew they had to beat England to claim the title and they did not disappoint.
Tries from Gaël Fickou, François Cros and Antoine Dupont secured the Les Bleus title in front of a raucous crowd at the Stade de France.
“Twelve years is a very long time,” France manager Raphael Ibanez told ITV after the win. “It was an intense last game but we had the reward. We are very lucky to have a great group of players.
“Fair play to England, they tried to break down our defence. But I think our team spirit and tactics won the game for us.
“I would recommend our players [keep] their feet on the ground. There is more to come. We can still improve our game.”
After his heroism at Twickenham last week, Ellis Genge had another assault game but he gave away the first penalty from scrimmage. He gave France the first points when Melvyn Jaminet netted a kick.
The Blues were the next scorers as a fabulously worked try saw Fickou pointing down. Gabin Villière made several meters and played a role a few phases later in the score. The ball was then sent to Fickou by Romain Ntamack who finished brilliantly.
Marcus Smith started the hosts’ lead from a penalty but there was a moment of nervousness for the visitors as Jack Nowell avoided a card. Jaminet was slammed into the air but referee Jaco Peyper ruled that Damian Penaud had changed his line and that Nowell was therefore not at fault.
A penalty for both sides and a quick and spectacular try from Cros – as he dug in from close range to complete a brilliant team move from the hosts – saw France lead 18-6 at halftime. time.
England started the second 40 brilliantly with a penalty seeing Smith fire into a corner. However, a strong French defense saw Sam Underhill overturn the ball.
But it didn’t take long for England to find their first try. Joe Marchant paused and the ball was whipped through the hands to allow Freddie Steward to score.
England threatened once again but the French defense ensured the turnover. And it was the French who got the next try. Captain Dupont’s dancing feet beat two defenders to pass after an offload from Gregory Alldritt.
Alex Dombrandt nearly fired back but he was held back and France lost on the goal line. England kept knocking on the door but France got to see the game and seal a historic victory.
The result sees England finish the tournament in third place, an improvement from fifth place in 2021, with Ireland second in the table.
But it’s the France team that will have their songs sung in Paris tonight.