England end five-year wait as Scotland beat France
Reuters  Published : 11:57 am  March 14, 2016 | No comments so far | Post Views 0 times | Print This Post  | 
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England won the Six Nations for the first time since 2011 after Scotland beat France for only the second time in the competition with a 29-18 victory at Murrayfield on Sunday.

Dylan Hartley receives an offload from Chris Robshaw during England’s Six Nations win over Wales.

Defeat means France, who were beaten 19-10 by Wales a fortnight ago, remain on four points and cannot overhaul Eddie Jones’s side when they meet in Paris next Saturday with England looking for a grand slam.

England, who secured a thrilling 25-21 victory over Wales on Saturday, have eight points after four matches and secured the title for only the second time since their 2003 World Cup triumph.

France opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a try by hooker Guilhem Guirado, but Stuart Hogg and Duncan Taylor scored two tries in the space of three minutes at the end of the first half.

Scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw converted the second try and added three penalties in the second half for a personal haul of 11 points.

Gael Fickou ran in France’s second try on the stroke of halftime, but Tim Visser’s third for Scotland in the 67th minute saw the hosts leapfrog France into third place on four points.

“We’ve had poor performances in the past,” fullback Hogg said to the BBC. “But to make amends today is brilliant.

“I can see how much it means to our home fans, who were unbelievable.”

“This is the reason why we pull on this jersey and make so many sacrifices,” said Laidlaw. “We make so many sacrifices, and that was for the fans.

“To lead this team at Murrayfield is something that will stay with me forever. We were all as one today. It was outstanding.”

Scotland ended a two-year wait for a Six Nations victory with a 36-20 triumph over Italy in Rome in February ending a run of nine successive losses in the tournament.

They started poorly and soon fell behind when France captain Guirado barrelled over the line.

The home side lost flyhalf Finn Russell to injury in the aftermath of the French try, but his replacement Peter Horne was influential as the Scots scored their first try through Hogg, building on the fine form he demonstrated in Rome.

Taylor added the second try two minutes later in the outstanding moment of the first half. Taking a penalty in the Scottish half, the centre decided to go the distance, dashing down the right flank to score with a magnificent solo effort.

France responded immediately as Fickou bundled over the line following sustained pressure in the 40th minute to go in 18-12 behind at halftime and set up a tense second period.

The visitors kept their intensity up after the break, with Hogg’s penalty cancelled out by scrumhalf Maxime Machenaud’s pair of kicks.

The tiring Scots extended their advantage in the 67th minute against the run of play when wing Visser scored in the corner following fine interplay from Hogg and Laidlaw.

“We played a weak game,” complained France coach Guy Noves to France 2. “It’s more us losing the game than them winning it.”

“We made stupid mistakes,” said Machenaud.

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