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France v England LIVE: Result and reaction as Les Bleus edge thrilling Six Nations finale in Lyon

France 33-31 England: Thomas Ramos’s late penalty gave Les Bleus the win in a topsy-turvy thriller

Luke Baker
Saturday 16 March 2024 22:39 GMT
Six Nations: Full Contact trailer

England finished third in the Six Nations after a monster Thomas Ramos penalty in the final minute sent them spinning to a heartbreaking 33-31 defeat to France at Groupama Stadium.

Steve Borthwick’s men have trailed at half-time of every match of the championship and once more they faced an uphill battle, this time in the form of 16-6 deficit that included a try of the tournament contender for scrum half Nolann Le Garrec.

But they turned the contest on its head by amassing 21 unanswered points through two Ollie Lawrence tries and a Marcus Smith touch down as their attack ran amok through the France midfield. France regrouped to cross through Leo Barre and Gael Fickou but England were not done yet as Tommy Freeman stormed over in the right corner with five minutes remaining.

They appeared to have secured their fourth win of the Six Nations having staged multiple fightbacks but when they infringed just outside their half with seconds left, Ramos kept his nerve to hit the target.

Relive all the action below:


England and France prove the future is bright in raucous Six Nations finale

A Six Nations crown will have to wait for another year for France but any talk of a revolt has been most certainly dismissed. In a tournament that threatened to descend into disaster, France ultimately finish as Ireland’s closest challengers again as Thomas Ramos’ long-range penalty in the final minute snatched victory on a riotous night in Lyon.

The spite of the rivalry meant this was never likely to be a drab championship coda but few could have expected something contested with quite so much action and animosity. It was aided by a jumping home crowd, relishing a rare chance to see the men in blue in the Six Nations, at one point making the uprights quiver with a mighty thunderclap and active participants throughout. It was they who lifted the hosts at the last to deny England victory.

The St Patrick’s Day party will be mighty in Dublin with Andy Farrell’s side kings again, but there is something to celebrate at Twickenham and in Paris, too, both Steve Borthwick and Fabien Galthie relatively content with their efforts and confident there is more to come. England may have fallen short at the end but backed up their derailing of Ireland’s grand slam hopes with another performance of real character and confidence – though familiar first-half flaws will be of concern to their head coach.

Read Harry Latham-Coyle’s full report from Lyon:

England and France prove the future is bright in raucous Six Nations finale

France 33-31 England: A jumping crowd helped France edge a captivating contest to close this year’s Six Nations

Luke Baker16 March 2024 22:13

More from Steve Borthwick on England’s defeat

“I thought the players showed a great level of intensity throughout the game. France are a really good side with a lot of power and pace. The team stayed really composed and kept sticking at it, found that score before half time and worked their way into a winning position. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get it over the line at the 80th minute, but that’s credit to France.”

And Jamie George adds: “I think we are on an upward trajectory. I think our set piece is in a really good place, our attack is building nicely, and defensively, what Felix Jones has done is coming together nicely. We didn’t find a way to win tonight and we’ll have to look at that moving forward, but I think we can be happy about where we are going.”

(Getty Images)
Harry Latham-Coyle16 March 2024 22:33

Steve Borthwick on England’s defeat

“My overriding emotion is immense pride in the players and gratitude to our supporters. The players played really well tonight and I am disappointed for them. It was a fantastic atmosphere and our supporters have been great with the team. I think the shirt is starting to feel a bit lighter.

“You look at the players and the fight they have, the intensity they have – I don’t think they are ever beaten, they just run out of time. Everyone watching that would have thought they had another score in them.

“This was an incredible Test match. Our supporters right now are probably feeling the disappointment, but also the pride in the team. I hope there are some boys and girls back home that these guys have influenced.”

Harry Latham-Coyle16 March 2024 22:26

Jamie George reacts to narrow England defeat

England captain Jamie George, speaking to ITV: “Devastated. It’s reminiscent of the last time in France against South Africa.

“I don’t really know how to sum that up. France showed their class, but we found a way back into the game.

“I am really proud of the boys, great effort. This is a team on an upward curve.

“The way we came out at the start of the second half was impressive. When we play, when we put teams under pressure with the ball, we look a very dangerous team.

“I felt like we put France under a lot of pressure tonight, but fair play to them they showed their class.

“Sometimes you can take the score out of it and take the performance as a whole, it was not perfect by all means but we gave it a good go and I thought our scrum and our set-piece held up nicely. Discipline let us down a little bit.

“The endeavour to go out there, have a crack and play with a smile on our faces, I thought the boys did that. I have loved the last seven weeks.”

(Andrew Matthews/PA Wire)
Luke Baker16 March 2024 22:12

FULL-TIME! France 33-31 England

This was the moment France won it at the death

Luke Baker16 March 2024 21:53

FULL-TIME! France 33-31 England

Wow, what a Test match! This week England lose it at the death, rather than win, but another promising performance.

France win it and after some bad moments in this championship, they’ll finish second.

That’s your 2024 Six Nations finished, folks.

Luke Baker16 March 2024 21:48

France 33-31 England, 80 mins

Two phases and Ramos boots it into the stands! France win and finish second in the Championship.

Luke Baker16 March 2024 21:46

France 33-31 England, 80 mins

France claim the kick-off. 30 seconds to hold on to the ball.

Luke Baker16 March 2024 21:45

PENALTY! France 33-31 England (Thomas Ramos, 79 mins)

Bang centre, Thomas Ramos lines it up from the halfway line. It’s straight, it’s true and France lead!

Less than a minute left.

Luke Baker16 March 2024 21:45

France 30-31 England, 78 mins

Two great tackles by Freeman. A tap tackle, then a cover tackle! Just as the French crowd were starting to get excited. But back for the penalty - bang on halfway.

Ramos will go for the posts... Huge kick

Luke Baker16 March 2024 21:44

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