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England completed the Six Nations Grand Slam with a hard fought 31-21 win over France at the Stade de France.
In what was a thrilling encounter, England’s superior fitness was the key as they just pulled away from France and sealed a deserved victory in the final quarter.
The home side started brightly and took the lead are three minutes.
England were penalised for lying on the ball and Maxime Machenaud took full advantage to put his side 3-0 ahead.
The lead didn’t last long, though, as England hit-back straight from the kick off. France infringed at the restart and Owen Farrell kicked the visitor’s level after four minutes.
England settled after this as they started to impose themselves on the game and they scored the first try of the game after 14 minutes.
Danny Care spotted a gap at a ruck and brilliantly skipped away from the French defence and raced clear to cross under the posts.
Farrell added the extras to make it 10-3.
The home side reacted well to the try and spent some time inside the England half before they reduced the gap to four when Machenaud kicked his second penalty of the game after England were penalised for collapsing the scrum.
France continued to look dangerous going forward, but they were simply not good enough in defence and they allowed England to cross for their second try after 20 minutes.
Dan Cole collected five yards from the line and rumbled his way over, although he seemed to benefit from a block on a French tackler, however, Nigel Owens overruled the TMO and awarded the try.
Farrell again added the extras to make it 17-6 after an enthralling opening quarter.
The hosts continued to look threatening in attack and they again reduced the gap with a penalty from Machenaud ten minutes before the break.
In what was a cracking encounter, both sides had chances to add to their tallies before Machenaud kicked France to within five points.
Owen Farrell then had a chance to reply but he missed a penalty on the stroke of half time as England went in 17-12 up at the break.
France started the second half much like the played the entire first half, on the front foot, and they reduced the gap to just two points when Machenaud took advantage of English ill-discipline with another penalty.
However, much like the first half, this penalty was cancelled out immediately when France were pinged at the restart and Farrell kicked the penalty to make it 20-15.
The home side continued to look dangerous every time they had ball in hand, but they were undone by a brilliant England try after 57 minutes.
Billy Vunipola broke through the defensive line and fed replacement scrum half Ben Youngs who produced a superb grubber kick into the path of Anython Watson and he made no mistake in diving over to put his side in control.
Again, though, as happened on numerous occasions in the game, England were penalised from the restart and Machenaud kicked the resulting penalty to leave just four points between the sides.
The game was delayed for a significant period after this as Dylan Hartley received treatment for a head injury.
It was England who reacted better to the stoppage as they won and converted a penalty through Farrell to put the themselves 28-21 ahead with eight minutes remaining.
And Farrell sealed the win for England with another penalty two minutes from time as the new Grand Slam Champions finished with a deserved 31-21 win.