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 French

England 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 and a couple of cylinders. They secured the bonus point they needed to at least delay Ireland’s coronation, but not the victory that had to come with it.

Eddie Jones’s side had to win and score four tries to take the Six Nations title race into the final weekend. They also had to dent Ireland’s vastly superior points difference, but after a first-half largely notable for the mistakes of both sides and the persistence of the referee’s whistle, they were drawing a kicking contest 9-9, desperately seeking inspiration.

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