France win over United Kingdom hands Ireland title

Laverne Higgins
March 12, 2018

England lost consecutive matches under Jones for the first time after defeats by Scotland and France, with Saturday's 22-16 loss in Paris leading to Ireland being crowned as the new Six Nations champions.

The post-mortem of England's second successive Six Nations defeat will be an arduous process for the players, coaching staff and of course, Eddie Jones.

Should they complete the bonus point win, they would also need to prevent Ireland from scoring either a losing bonus point for finishing within seven points of England, or from collecting a try-scoring bonus point for themselves picking up four tries.

England hooker Jamie George also said sorting out their own deficiencies would take precedence over stopping Ireland from winning the Grand Slam.

However, Eddie Jones's men could not even claim victory at Stade de France as the host won a scrappy contest high on physicality, but low on quality. The players have worked hard to get a medal for Josh, the players have worked hard to get a medal for Robbie (Henshaw) and for Chris (Farrell).

Exeter's hard grafting Don Armand has been drafted into the squad as cover and given the injury problems in the back row, could play a role against Ireland. "We haven't shown what we can do in the last couple of weeks so we want to play the way we know we can".

"Any team that is developing, as we are, goes through tough periods where the game does not love you".

Jonathan Sexton, who converted all four tries against Scotland, added: "Credit to the management team for being able to prepare us with so many changes".

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Should England manage that feat, which given Ireland's struggles in Paris, if far from a guarantee, a huge amount would still have to go their way next weekend in Twickenham.

"You could tell by their speeches and by their actions that season how much it meant to them and they had to drag along guys like Luke Fitzgerald, Tommy Bowe, Rob Kearney, these young guys coming through. They'll be gunning for us". It's the flip of what happened a year ago (v Eng at Aviva) and we know what England's motivation is going to be.

"We're all aware of what it is, and what could potentially come at the end of it, but I think what this group is really good at is focusing on what we need to do, and it's effectively just another game-week".

"I hope it is the former and that a few more strong words from Jones and some serious soul-searching will act as a corrective". It's a very odd feeling to win the Championship with a game to go, and so much still to play for.

"We're in the loser's chair and it's not a happy place, but I don't think we should get too melodramatic about it. The shoe is on the other foot after past year and I'm sure they will be licking their lips".

"England's backs again scarcely looked like scoring a try, which is a major worry", he wrote.

"It's the exact same for England - I know a lot of the players and they're a proud bunch of people".

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