2012 12/03
England beat France to set up Six Nations showdown

England dug deep to secure a triumphant 24-22 victory against France, keeping their hopes of a Six Nations championship intact, with the finale coming next weekend.

Tries from Manu Tuilagi, Ben Foden and Tom Croft helped Stuart Lancaster's side to the historic result, with flanker Croft's third halting a French comeback in the second-half.

England's victory ended France's record of being three years unbeaten at home, also ruling out their slim hopes of a Six Nations title and helping to avenge their World Cup quarter final loss at the hands of Les Blues last year.

The win meant coach Mr Lancaster, dressed in a tracksuit as opposed to the formal shirts worn by Martin Johnson in the previous coaching reign, edged ever closer to securing a long-term deal at the RFU.

As speculation over his future continues to mount, players and coaches spoke well of the achievement in Paris. In support of his colleague, Owen Farrell told that "The win (over France) is there for all to see what Stuart has achieved."

Although some had criticised his squad selection, after the final whistle, Mr Lancaster was full of praise for his young side.

"It's a fantastic to win here with a side so young and inexperienced, " said the interim coach, talking to "We started well. We had periods where we lost composure, but we showed true character and grit to stick in there."

Despite the manner of the victory, the former head at elite development at the RFU said that he was only looking to the next game, against Ireland, stating: "It comes down to the character the boys showed from one to 22. We'll keep our feet on the ground though, there's a massive game coming up against Ireland." 

Wales are currently top of the table going into their final game against France next Saturday. England are mathematically the only side that can pip them to the Championship.

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