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A RUTHLESS England put France to the sword at Twickenham today as Jonny May helped himself to a first-half hat-trick.
Les Bleus were eviscerated by an English side looking to consolidate their Dublin win with a rousing home performance.
The men in white duly delivered an early Valentine Day massacre in front of the Twickenham faithful.
England’s boss Eddie Jones wanted a quick start from his men and they duly delivered with a try scored by man-of-the-match May after just 66 seconds.
That early score was made after a fabulous burst by Elliot Daly who then kicked through for winger May to snaffle the try.
Jones paid tribute to the 28-year-old after the match saying he works hard at his game and is one of the hardest working guys in the team.
“Our discipline in the second half to stop France scoring was immense.
“We left 15-20 points on the pitch and there is a lot more to come from this side.”
The home side played with pace and precision as their heat-seeking missiles in the backs, in the form of Daly and May, forced mistakes from the under pressure French.
French coach Jacques Brunel paid tribute to the English kicking game as he conceded his side could not cope with it.
“I am very disappointed with our performance, especially in the first half, and we could not match their kicking.”
Two first half English penalties were successfully kicked by Owen Farrell, with Les Bleu scrum-half Morgan Parra putting points on the board for France.
May’s second try after 23 minutes came after a long pass from Farrell left the winger with some work still to do for the score.
Sustained English pressure led to May’s hat-trick after his fellow winger, Chris Ashton, threaded a kick through for the flying back.
But just when it looked as though the match was effectively over Yoann Huget burst threw from nothing to set up Damian Penaud for a sensational try.
The home side hit back on the stroke of half-time with Henry Slade scoring a bonus point try in the corner.
The half-time whistle could not come early enough for the French forwards, who had been blowing hard for most of the first half.
That seeming lack of fitness and a palpable French panic as England’s kicking game was executed with pace and precision.
Parra was pulled off early in the second half as he failed to deal with the kicking threat posed by England.
What was also clear from England’s line speed in defence saw the home side stopping France from getting across the gainline by ferocious tackling.
This was Rugby Union’s version of league with the men in white stifling the French in their own 22.
A disjointed second half saw both sides empty their benches with France failing to score as the home side’s defence held firm.
England scored 14 more points in the final 40 minutes to take their final score to 44, which is a roasting that France will not forget for a while.
Two English tries came from skipper Farrell and the other a penalty try after Ashton had been brought down without the ball.
Referee Nigel Owens gave the penalty try and sent Gael Fickou to the sin-bin to complete Les Bleus woes.
A watching Wales awaits England in Cardiff in a fortnight’s time and Warren Gatland may well fancy his side matching England’s kicking game and defensive tackling.
Jones’s could not resist a post-match barb to throw at Gatland’s side.
“We are looking forward to playing the best Welsh side ever.”
The Cardiff match-up will see the Six Nations two undefeated sides face-off in a titanic battle to remain in the hunt for a Grand Slam in World Cup year.
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