It was a humbling afternoon for Eddie Jones and England on Sunday at the Stade de France, as his side fell to a 24-17 loss.
In the build-up to the match, the vocal coach spoke of how a young French side would not be able to handle England’s physicality in the opening round of the Six Nations.
After 60 minutes, it was his own side that could not impose themselves on the opposition, trailing 24-0.
After repeatedly coming up empty-handed during many trips to the French 22, and with such a sizeable deficit, even the most optimistic of Englishmen would not have thought that their team would be able to mount a comeback.
But two pieces of individual brilliance from Jonny May gave England a sniff of victory in the final minutes of the match.
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Eddie Jones and Owen Farrell after England’s 24-17 loss to France
With a minute remaining and trailing by ten points, the imperious Antoine Dupont’s erroneous kick gave England a chance for points in the final play of the match.
To come away with a losing bonus point is nothing short of a miracle from how England were playing, and to deprive France of four tries is equally as heroic.
Got the LBP and encouraging play at the end. Win the final four and it’s still on. Come on England
— Bones (@arj0133) February 2, 2020
Not really sure what to make of the England game! Don’t think France have been great but have dominated. But with the late bonus point I suppose it’s just job done and let’s move on. Expected a little more though… ?
— Lee Hamer (@1LeeHamer) February 2, 2020
England will get better…a lot better. looks like it will be a close thing this year..don’t rule out England as that last kick bonus point may have a bearing on things
— Dowse (@sbdowson) February 2, 2020
This was a game where Owen Farrell and his men should have come away with nothing, and that solitary point could be crucial not only from an English perspective but across the Six Nations.
This is tipped to be a very close Six Nations, with England coming from a World Cup final, a rejuvenated French team, Wales and Ireland with new coaches, and even Scotland looking impressive in Dublin. In what may not be a Grand Slam year, bonus points may be a precious commodity.
Could be a championship winning bonus point for #England with Ireland & Wales at home. The French did so well to not be too french until right at the end ?????
— Conor Horgan (@horgan88) February 2, 2020
Disappointing start to the #SixNations despite the stronger end to the game. Feels like teams have worked out how to combat England so perhaps a new battle plan is in order for Eddie Jones. That losing bonus point may prove crucial come the end of the tournament though
— Oliver Pearman (@opearman) February 2, 2020
Got to hope France gifting us a bonus point ends up crucial… the gulf between England at their worst and best must be the widest in international rugby ????? #FRAvENG
— Chris Beck (@ChrisBecky20) February 2, 2020
While it may seem presumptuous for England fans to think that a losing bonus point could determine the Championship given their performance, the consensus is that they will not play that poorly again and some changes in selection could bring different results.
However, if they produce the same performance against any other side as they did in the first half at the Stade de France, the chances of winning will be over very soon.
— Olly Wallace (@LastWordOlly) February 2, 2020
— Rhys Davies (@1Rhys_Dave) February 2, 2020
Never been happier to get a losing bonus point.
That was pretty awful from England. It was like playing an out of tune piano where the keys are in the wrong order. #SixNations
— Conor Ratcliffe (@ConorRatcliffe) February 2, 2020
The Six Nations is wide open, but a losing bonus point means England may not be on the back foot as much as they perhaps should be. With Ireland and Wales set to visit Twickenham, they could yet redeem themselves in what promises to be a Championship defined by fine margins.
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