How referees decisions, set pieces and bloody tactics saw the home team prevail


England needed an Owen Farrell penalty in the second half of extra time to win the Fall Nations Cup, as the final they had been favorites for against a second-string France side came to fruition. twice turned into a desperate race.
First, for Farrell’s men to grab the rescue job of a try to level the scores just at the end of normal time, and then for the captain who had previously missed four shots on the posts to regain his balance and nail the ‘point gold ‘colon to sudden death deep within the additional 20 minutes.

The quirk of the world as a whole was deeply felt at Twickenham when England added this unique trophy – which was designed in the short term to replace fall internationals canceled due to Covid-19 – to the Six Nations title which they won in a delayed arrival. in October.

Even as Farrell lifted a silver trophy that didn’t exist until recently, the instinctive note of the 2020 international season wasn’t to celebrate a triumph of the red roses as much as it was to shout ” Go the Blues!In recognition of France’s victory over England in Paris at the Six Nations in February (that title was finally settled on points difference) and now a smart and formidable effort from a mostly novice team test in which a few key refereeing decisions went the way of the home team.

England’s starting XV with a national record of 813 caps put his faith in a game plan that included a set piece and half-fly George Ford hitting the ball high and often – as far as he felt an almost bloody adherence to a tactic. Once it became clear, France’s 68-cap squad brought an enthusiastic defense curated by their England assistant coach Shaun Edwards, and some brilliant individual contributions.

The 2,000 spectators admitted to Twickenham for the first time since March sang backing vocals of ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ and blinked in the autumn sunlight – a metaphor for happier times when the Six Nations return, in February? We will see.

England had lost just two of their previous 28 appearances here – against Ireland and New Zealand in 2018 – but if their expected result was a flood of points from the French errors, under pressure in their own half. , the flow of play was very different, in part due to the fact that Farrell lost 12 points for missed kicks, including a penalty two minutes after overtime that weirdly bounced off the right post and buckled the post left to finally pass over the dead ball line.

“Obviously I missed some that I sure, sure shouldn’t have missed and made this game last longer than it should have,” said Farrell, valiantly assuming some of the blame.

England were behind 13-6 at halftime, after conceding a symbolic try at 14 minutes.

France kicked off a roster, as unit skills naturally let them down, but Tom Curry struck for England, and 21-year-old French lock Killian Geraci – a two-time World Championship winner at women’s level. under 20 – lowered his frame two meters to catch the ball and restart the movement. Half-fly Matthieu Jalibert lost confidence in the midfield and left Jamie George, before moving on to the most capped holder, full-back Brice Dulin, to score at the corner.

After a lot of breath and puffs, England’s set piece paid off when they were 19-12, with two minutes of normal time to go. A fumble ahead of Billy Vunipola in preparation was not spotted, then a well-placed penalty for touching by Ford was followed by the safe throw from Luke Cowan-Dickie at Jonny Hill, all fullbacks rushing into the maul , and Cowan Dickie snapping to try it.

Ford remained calm as everything around him lost his mind (Photo: Getty)

The conversion of Farrell, who had already sent off three of his six penalty attempts, sent us into unusual “next score wins” territory. With the level of the teams on the trials scored, the first tiebreaker was the number of penalties conceded in the final, which would have favored England.

With England head coach Eddie Jones now on the pitch, hitting the air with every swing, it was a game of chess for the right position, and eventually Ford pinned French winger Alivereti Raka in his 22, and Tom Curry’s initial challenge followed. by jackalling Maro Itoje gave Farrell his winning kick.

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