The decline of France finds no basis. The country with the most powerful league in the world does not hit the button to create a national project. To other milestones of a bloody decade is joined this Sunday an intolerable defeat in the house of the eternal rival, to a point of the greatest affront, a 37-0 there by 1911, when France was the rookie of the club. The English Channel falls short to explain the chasm that separates the two great European powers that must be played – together with Argentina – a ticket to the quarterfinals of the World Cup this autumn. Impressive deployment of Eddie Jones's national team after winning with authority in Dublin. The XV of the Rose monopolize Le Crounch with 10 victories in his last 13 Six Nations matches against a rival that has fallen in solo has won three of 13 matches with Jacques Brunel. France is tenth in the world ranking, farther from the first position of the All Blacks than the twenty-first in Spain.
There was no alternative script. England again came out in a whirlwind and scored for the fifth game in a row in the first three minutes of play. Jonny May needed 90 seconds last week in Dublin; this time 66 were enough. Elliot Daly launched the counterattack against flimsy defensive coverage and the wing exhibited speed tip to catch his kick in the area of the mark. Both reward Jones' offensive bet in both positions.
After putting on a talented back against Wales, France turned the opposite way with Mathieu Bastareaud and his hard onslaught. The idea was to replicate the bloody battle that defeated the English last year in Paris (22-16). The XV of the Rooster he whispered in attack while the score gave them options with some kick from Morgan Parra but there was no continuity. Without possession, the defensive vulnerability that made them squander a 16-0 nine days ago – the biggest lost advantage in a Six Nations – was an insurmountable drag.
Yoann Huget, pictured with a defensive error against Wales, failed one coverage after another. He is not a regular defender, but his task is not strange either. Thus, Damian Penaud was forced to put out one fire after another on the left side of the English attack. May scored his second mark after a good sequence of the front that the French wing could no longer neutralize and complete a flashy triplet on the half hour in a broken play after a mistake by the hands of the Gauls. On the 11th, he pocketed another poisoned kick, this time by Chris Ashton -titled in a Six Nations six years later- before the invisible rival behind.
Huget threatened to redeem himself with Penaud's essay, with a meritorious ride, but he did not survive the passage through the changing rooms. Faced with such opposition, France was a toy for the mastery of Owen Farrell and his foot. And France did not give one when it came to bagging the oval. After starting the first half with an exclamation point, he did the same thing to close it in a sequence of kicks that ended with a center like Henry Slade before a hard forward like Guilhem Guirado. As expected, a sprinter wins a pitcher in weight. Third rehearsal of the championship for Slade and bonus point for the four trials for England in just 40 minutes.
The outlook did not improve for a resounding France that would fit a rehearsal of punishment after Gael Fickou's no-ball tackle when Ashton was already touching the promised land. The French wing saw the consequent yellow that left his teammates ten minutes in inferiority and the wound continued to open. It was Farrell who posed his own kick and beat the conversion to Jonny Wilkinson as the player who scored the most points in the matches between both teams. There was no replica of pride XV of the Rooster, who will have to deal with the fire one more winter. England had no rival, who could relieve masterpieces such as the fragile Billy Vunipola. His big challenge to dominate the tournament will come with his visit to Cardiff in two weeks.