The match was set in Paris, and France had no intention of letting its cross-Channel rivals take home an easy victory on Sunday despite a late lead of quality size. Whether or not the French were ready to cede the victory in the final minutes, England managed to hold on despite an impassioned comeback to the delight of the Paris faithful.
Early tries from Ben Foden and Manu Tuilagi placed England ahead by a comfortable 14-3 margin, and they managed to maintain a nice lead after Tom Croft scored late in the match to put things at 24-15 with a mere five minutes left for France to try to even the score. The narrow margin for error did nothing but sharpen the French focus, and a corner try from Wesley Fofana nearly tied things up before Francois Trinh-Duc tripped up with a late miss on a drop-goal attempt.
The victory keeps the Brits alive in the Grand Slam race and also gives a nice boost to interim coach Stuart Lancaster’s hopes of being named the full-time manager when the decision is made by the national team’s front office. The victory marked the first time England has managed to win all of its three fixtures outside the UK in a single championship season. The result also pushed the squad to the ranking of fourth in the world. Sports betting sites like 888 Sport also did good that day, many bettors placed their bets for this particular match.
With a tough schedule ahead, England will face the difficult task of trying to stay hot in order to earn a top seed when they host the World Cup in 2015.
Despite the Rugby Football Union’s stated preference for a manager with international experience of the highest grade, chances are looking brighter for the less-experienced Lancaster to nab the gig. Big name Jake White recently withdrew his name from the running, leaving Lancaster to compare his talents and accomplishments with Nick Mallet. The victory in Paris put England in the position to compete for a championship against Ireland next week if France can manage to take down Wales, which holds a points advantage over England.