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The European sports media, especially, the UK, lauded England's successful game plan against France, routing the opposition 44-8. It was not the significant difference in scoring that the media emphasized but the consistent smart decisions on the field by the entire Red Roses fifteen in this Six Nations contest.
Earning special praise was England's kicking game that featured two aspects, the high, down and under aimed at the French fullback, and more devastating, the grub kick into the empty French space, which accounted for three tries. In an era of a standard defensive position lined up tight along the line, resembling more Rugby League than past Rugby Union, open breaks have been difficult to attain. The grub kick through has been the means of attack to thwart the defense.
Scouting by England must have revealed that in past matches the French sweeper moved up to defend a movement leaving open space for a grub kick or a high, Gary Owen. England exploited this defensive lapse with speedy backs, particularly, Johnny May, sprinting after the bouncing ball and touching down for a try. (Photo: Ashton kicks with May on the wing to follow the ball.)
The daily French all-sports newspaper, L'Equipe, praised May with the sobriquet, "essai assasain", easy to comprehend when essai translates as "try." He ended up with a hat trick, a rare occurrence anytime but more rare in a Six Nations match.
England scored in the first two-minutes on their first time touching the ball after the opening kick off. The movement started with a high kick into empty French space, a good bounce, and then the ball touched down by an English back.
Throughout the match, England ran set plays off loose mauls, creating overlaps for yardage and for tries. The French had no response to the English game plan and suffered the embarrassing loss.
After last year's poor showing, England coach Eddie Jones, has returned to the good graces of the country's rugby fans.