rss

Author Archive for Paul Rees at the Stade de France

0

Uninspired England’s title hopes ended by scrappy defeat to France

• France 22-16 England• Penalty try conceded by Anthony Watson tilts contest to the FrenchEngland should seek sponsorship from the RAC. Their title challenge broke down in the French capital, their chariot not so much swinging low as missing a wheel an…

0

England’s Eddie Jones: grand slam winners can develop to beat All Blacks

• England head to Australia in summer after first grand slam since 2003
• ‘The players are pretty battered but they will enjoy themselves tonight’

Eddie Jones celebrated England’s first grand slam for 13 years following the 31-21 victory over France and said that the best was still to come – beating the All Blacks.

Jones, who took over as head coach after England’s most unsuccessful World Cup, has set a goal of becoming the No 1 ranked team in the world by the time the 2019 World Cup starts.

Continue reading…

0

Wales condemn France to Six Nations jeers but need more of Rhys Webb flair

• Scrum-half’s instincts key to Wales revival against top sides
Sam Warburton waits for knee injury swelling to subside
Match report: France 13-20 Wales

There was a time when it took something special to win in Paris but now all a team need are the basics. Wales sorted out their set pieces – which they used to get their hard-running backs over the gainline – tackled with relish and kicked their penalties in claiming a victory that put them back in the title race after the opening night defeat to England.

France huffed without puff. Beating them, even here, means little in the wider context any more. Ireland in Cardiff next week will ask considerably more of Wales who could hardly believe their fortune when France started running from deep early, moves foundering through sloppy passes, poor handling and a lack of understanding. It was sad to see, like a boxer well past his prime trying to revisit past glories, the fight getting more distant from them with each attempted blow.

Continue reading…

0

Wales’s Dan Biggar and Leigh Halfpenny combine to down listless France

• France 13-20 Wales
• Read Scott Murray’s minute-by-minute report

French rugby was rocked last week by claims that players in the 1980s were pumped up on illegal substances. Whatever is being put into the protein shakes of the current squad, it is not remotely performance enhancing, dopes rather than dope. All Wales had to do to remain a contender for the title was be organised and resolute: visiting teams here used to have to ride out storms, now they have to weather squalls.

France did score their first try against Wales for four years, but they were largely lamentable, singular rather than collective. Wales were, well, Wales, direct, strong, compact, defensively strong and patient. All that spoiled their fifth victory in nine matches here were late knee injuries suffered by their captain, Sam Warburton, and Dan Biggar, but if Ireland defeat England on Sunday, the men in red, who face the Irish in Cardiff next, will fancy 2013, when they won the Six Nations after losing their first match, repeating itself.

Continue reading…