On the finish of the match, Eddie Jones provided to get out his RFU bank card and purchase the groundsman a beer.
In a recreation of advantageous margins, it was the additional millimetre of crisp Twickenham grass that allowed Maro Itoje to wrestle over and floor the ball with the faintest of touches.
‘No attempt’ was the referee’s on-field determination, earlier than he was overruled by the tv match official within the 77th minute.
Maro Itoje celebrates after England’s victory following his dramatic late attempt towards France
It has been a disappointing Six Nations for England however they fought onerous to beat France
The late defeat was a bitter one for France because it ended their Grand Slam desires
As the choice was confirmed, the roars of aid stated all of it.
England’s title quest ended a fortnight in the past, however Itoje’s match-winning rating saved their Six Nations marketing campaign from catastrophe, and banished a closing week of bloody inquests.
Whereas Jones was toasting the groundsman, rugby’s powerbrokers had been chinking their glasses at a match that ought to add a number of kilos to the negotiations over a brand new TV-rights deal.
If ever there have been an advert for the Six Nations to stay on terrestrial tv, this was it. It was a spectacle that would seize the eye of essentially the most fair-weather of audiences.
The likes of Antoine Dupont and Mathieu Jalibert lived as much as their billing as field workplace gold. France’s assault was loaded with Gallic artistry however, within the closing levels, they proved to be a number of brushstrokes wanting a masterpiece.
Dupont required no introduction. He arrived at Twickenham billed because the miniature Jonah Lomu and, inside 65 seconds, had already breached the English defence to attain.
Jones spent the week highlighting his threats, but England couldn’t cease him. By the point of the 2023 World Cup, the 24-year-old could possibly be on a pedestal of his personal as the game’s standout participant.
England had been left rocked after France scored a attempt in simply the second minute of the sport
Nonetheless, for England, it was all concerning the right here and now. A salvage operation after embarrassing defeats by Scotland and Wales.
Throughout their captain’s run, France lineout coach Karim Ghezal informed his gamers that they may ‘stroll throughout England’. Tom Curry and Co had not received his message.
After weeks of scorn and criticism, England confirmed their togetherness, scoring the following 13 factors. Curry was the antithesis to the gorgeous French play, throwing himself into contact and carrying the ball like a menace.
The play was quick and unfastened. Stodgy performances from the Autumn Nations Cup appeared like a distant reminiscence within the crisp spring sunshine.
Sooner or later over the lengthy lockdown winter, England determined that the rugby ball shouldn’t be in truth a ‘ticking time bomb’.
When the time referred to as, George Ford took on the position of ringmaster, conserving the ball in hand, and launching the likes of Curry, Kyle Sinckler and Billy Vunipola like human cannonballs. Wave after wave of assist runners arrived on the surface shoulder, sucking in French defenders, as England landed highly effective pictures.
Anthony Watson scored a attempt on his fiftieth worldwide look to place England forward
Damien Penaud celebrates after his good attempt put France again forward earlier than half-time
England confronted an up-hill process going into the second-half of their Six Nations conflict with France
Henry Slade confirmed his class by scything by way of the French defence and, after 10 phases, Ford flung a go to Anthony Watson to degree the scores.
For the primary half not less than, England managed to remain on the proper facet of the referee. Owen Farrell adopted a extra diplomatic method with the officers, utilizing passive physique language, whereas biting his tongue with a ‘sure sir, no sir’ line of dialog.
His gamers met aptitude with hearth.
With out drifting offside, Itoje smashed again French runners, forcing the guests to make the errors. France’s 42-stone lock pairing of Romain Taofifenua and Paul Willemse gave away clumsy penalties on the breakdown and Farrell nailed two pictures at aim to offer his facet the lead.
With all eyes on Dupont, Jalibert performed the position of the silent murderer at No 10 when the guests attacked. He stored his facet on the scoreboard from the kicking tee, earlier than taking part in a key position in a mesmerizing French attempt.
Julien Marchand is tackled by Max Malins who made his worldwide debut for England
Gael Fickou claimed a protracted overthrow on the lineout, triggering a first-phase strike transfer, as France launched runners from all angles to repair English defenders. Virimi Vakatawa ran a devastating decoy line, earlier than Dupont and Jalibert utilized the width to arrange Damian Penaud on the proper wing.
France had been purring, but they sometimes lived as much as their previous stereotypes. Metres away from England’s tryline, prop Mohamed Haouas conceded an affordable penalty for sealing off as Les Bleus tried to attain one other attempt earlier than the break.
Their attacking stress was breathless and, because the clock struck 40 minutes, Ford was all too completely happy to kick the ball out to sign half time.
Early within the second half, England’s self-discipline issues crept again. At instances, they struggled to match France’s physicality on the breakdown, conceding turnovers as their penalty rely moved into double figures.
Itoje was awarded the attempt with simply minutes to spare after a prolonged TMO assessment
The victory for England spared their marketing campaign from ending in catastrophe after every week of inquests
Jalibert and Farrell exchanged penalties, earlier than France as soon as once more lived as much as their chaotic stereotype as Brice Dulin tried a limp drop-goal from 45 metres.
Off the sector, France’s construct as much as this recreation was nothing wanting disastrous. Head coach Fabien Galthie breached bubble protocols, and an outbreak of Covid meant his facet had not performed a Check match for a month.
Unsurprisingly, they ran out of steam within the closing quarter. They haven’t received a Six Nations recreation at Twickenham for 16 years and, within the closing levels, the prospect to reset the report books slipped by way of their fingers.
Ellis Genge, Elliot Daly and Ben Earl elevated the tempo from the bench, stepping up the velocity of England’s attacking recreation.
France’s defence scrambled to maintain up and, with three minutes left to play, Itoje drove over to grab the victory. It was a forgettable, close-range attempt, in an in any other case unforgettable spectacle.
NIGEL OWENS: I can not argue with Maro Itoje’s attempt final result by TMO
This was the crunch determination and I can not argue with the result. Referee on the sector Andrew Brace’s preliminary determination was no attempt, however the TMO Pleasure Neville felt she noticed sufficient proof to overturn it.
The one factor I wish to see modified is for the referee to not be pressured into giving a choice earlier than going to the TMO.
What myself and some different referees argued was that within the few instances the place a referee didn’t see an incident, or didn’t get a adequate view to have the ability to make a agency determination, he was now unable to ask the TMO to advise him with the advantage of replays and different angles.
He needed to make a name, one which he might not really feel justified in making.
You’ll usually discover referees be cautious and never award the attempt, and the TMO then has to search out clear proof to overturn it.
Sportsmail’s Kieran Lynch supplied reside play-by-play for the reside Six Nations protection from Twickenham of England vs France, together with scoreline, lineups and build-up.