The exact moment England reached their lowest ever point
79:01 was the exact moment on Saturday at Twickenham where it ceased to be a Test match between England and France, rather 15 French blokes chucking a ball about for fun in front of 82,000 people.
This was in the build up to the penultimate try of the match, scored by Damian Penaud, but it was a low point all round for the hosts.
It all started with England losing possession and then scrambling to retrieve the ball, but much slower than the French- which was a theme that day. The visitors scooped up the ball, and with the score already 41-10, started to offload it.
The ball found its way into the hands of Romain Ntamack, who had an onrushing Owen Farrell charging towards him. But at 79:01 the fly-half was able to keep Farrell at bay with one arm, fending off a typically high challenge from the England captain before producing a one handed offload to Thomas Ramos. Now say what you like about the legality of Farrell’s tackles, but he is seldom treated like that by an opponent. This just summed up how confident the French were at that point, and equally how low it had got for England.
From there, Ramos quickly passed the ball to Gael Fickou, who hoofed a fairly agricultural cross field kick to his winger Penaud, who only had No8-turned-outside-centre Alex Dombrandt to beat, which he did with ease. The ASM Clermont Auvergne winger ran in from 50 metres to make the score 48-10 with the conversion, before scoring again shortly after that.
Though England have suffered bigger defeats, this was the biggest loss they have ever faced at Twickenham, but moreover no team has ever treated them with such contempt on their own soil than Fabien Galthie’s team did on Saturday. The challenges don’t get any easier for Steve Borthwick’s side this weekend though, as they travel to Dublin to take on Grand Slam chasing Ireland.
This was the moment:
The offload ✨
The kick 🎯
The finish ⚡️
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 14, 2023