England have secured their third Six Nations title in five years under head coach Eddie Jones on a pressure-filled final day.
Just two days before the anniversary of their World Cup final defeat to South Africa, England dogged out a 34-5 victory away to Italy with scrum-half Ben Youngs scoring two tries on his 100th international appearance. That left Ireland either needing to win by six points or with a four-try bonus point in Paris. France, meanwhile, needed to beat Ireland by 31 points, including a bonus point.
Les Bleus, inspired by their own scrum-half in Antoine Dupont, did secure the bonus point in a see-saw match, but their 35-27 victory meant they came up short by a points difference of 23. While it did not live up to the giddy heights of 2015’s Super Saturday, the swings in momentum in Paris at least provided a significant degree of tension as England secured their first title since 2017.
Six Nations 2020 finals standings
The England squad, who watched the France match from their team hotel in Rome, will be presented with the Six Nations trophy at 1.30pm on Sunday at their team base at the Lensbury Club in South West London. Captain Owen Farrell is hoping their latest trophy can be the springboard to further success, particularly as four players in Jonny Hill, Ollie Lawrence, Ollie Thorley and Tom Dunn made their debuts in Rome.
“It feels like we are just getting started,” Farrell said. “We had four new caps today, we had Ben getting his 100th cap and Jamie getting his 50th and that’s a brilliant blend of experience and youth to drive us forward. Being involved in training over the past few weeks has shown that to us.
“Eddie’s been brilliant. The best I can say is we all love being here, we all love being in camp and we all love working hard to improve and I think you see that when we get out there on the field. It was an enjoyable game to watch. It got to a point like it seemed it was going our way and thankfully it did.”
Head coach Jones admitted their performance at the Stadio Olimpico was “rusty”, but two tries from Young along with individual scores - Jamie George, Tom Curry and Henry Slade - proved decisive.