Late rally against France cannot hide England’s breakdown at the breakdown | Gerard Meagher

Eddie Jones’s men were short of inspiration, leaving the coach with much to ponder in terms of personnel and preparation

The battle was lost and the war long gone with barely a shot fired in anger until the closing stages. Thus did England unravel in Paris to the extent they are now at their lowest ebb under Eddie Jones. A late glimpse of what Owen Farrell can do when he is let off the leash may make for a silver lining, if he is given free rein from fly-half in the future. But make no mistake, the clouds looming over English heads have blackened.

England were beaten by an underrated French side who were thrown together at the start of the championship but, led by the superb Guilhem Guirado, defended resolutely and bossed the breakdown. Still, it was a French side who tripped, fell and stumbled across the finishing line. For all that England rallied and were pushing for a winning try at the end, a strong last 10 minutes cannot mask their failings.

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