Six Nations | Fantastic France stun England in Paris

David Smith
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France have stunned England by beating Eddie Jones’ men 24-17 at the Stade de France.

Charles Ollivon (two) and Vincent Rattez scored the tries as Les Bleus raced into a 24-0 lead in Paris, with Romain Ntamack’s flawless kicking keeping them in the ascendancy.

England mounted a strong second half comeback, with Jonny May crossing for a brace of tries, but France held their nerve to seal a huge win under new coach Fabien Galthie.

Next up for England is a trip to Murrayfield to face Scotland, who Ireland beat 19-12 at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

In the weekend’s third fixture, reigning champions Wales produced a 42-0 whitewash against France in Cardiff, with Josh Adams bagging a hat-trick of tries.

France started on the front foot, and plundered their first try in the sixth minute in the Paris rain.

La Rochelle winger Rattez dived over the whitewash after being picked out by an excellent Ntamack pass, following good work from Teddy Thomas.

Ntamack converted, before splitting the posts with an inspired penalty 10 minutes later to extend France’s lead to 10-0.

Captain Ollivon sprinted over the try-line in the 20th minute, with the hosts’ second try eventually being awarded after a TMO consultation regarding a potential knock-on.

The ball was adjudged to have been knocked backwards by England’s Courtney Lawes, with Rattez then feeding Ollivon to race over.

Ntamack added his second conversion with another superb kick.

Jones’ visitors continued to shoot themselves in the foot with a plethora of errors, with last year’s World Cup finalists looking shell-shocked after France’s lightning start.

France led 17-0 at the interval, marking the first time since 1988 that England failed to score in the first half of a Championship match.

Ollivon, who inherited the armband in January after Guilhem Guirado’s retirement, notched his second try in the 55th minute,

Scrum-half Antoine Dupont embarked on a dazzling run, dancing past English opponents before passing inside to Ollivon, who slid over the slick grass to extend France’s huge lead.

Ntamack’s third conversion made it 24-0.

England finally roared to life, responding almost instantly with a try of their own.
May chipped the ball forward twice before crashing over the end line for the away side’s first points of the match.

Owen Farrell converted to reduce France’s lead to 17 points.

May scored his second try in the 65th minute, weaving brilliantly past three France defenders before grounding the ball for another five points.

Farrell made no mistake from the subsequent conversion, giving England hope of a late turnaround.

However, Les Bleus held firm, restricting England to a consolation penalty from Farrell in the dying seconds, which sealed a losing bonus-point for the visitors.

The Galthie era has commenced in emphatic fashion, and France’s shock win has already blown the Six Nations wide open.