England have been crowned champions of the delayed 2020 Six Nations after France saw off Ireland with an impressive 35-27 victory in Paris.
Eddie Jones’ men faced a nervous wait heading into Saturday evening’s finale after Ben Youngs scored two tries in his 100th appearance to inspire his side to a 34-5 bonus-point win over Italy.
This set up a three-way battle for the championship and the French stood up to the challenge as Antoine Dupont crossed over in only the seventh minute at the Stade de France.
Romain Ntamack held his nerve with the boot before Ireland loosehead Cian Healy barrelled over from close range to reduce the deficit, with France leading 17-13 at the half-time break.
Four minutes into the second half, Ntamack finished off a brilliant team move to extend France’s advantage before Robbie Henshaw scored a try out of nothing to give the visitors a glimmer of hope on the hour-mark.
But it was short-lived as Virimi Vakatawa made it 35-20 with a classy try of his own to put England in the driving seat for the tournament with ten minutes remaining in the French capital.
Jacob Stockdale touched down right at the death for Ireland but it was too little, too late and the result secured England their third Six Nations title of Eddie Jones’ tenure.
Reacting to France’s win over Ireland, England captain Owen Farrell told BBC Sport: ‘It was an enjoyable game to watch.
‘But it got to a point where it seemed like it was going our way and thankfully it did.’
On Jones’ work as England head coach, Farrell said: ‘He’s obviously been brilliant.
‘The best thing I can say is we all love being here, we all love being in camp, we all love working hard to improve and hopefully you see that when we get out there on the field.’
Farrell added: ‘It feels like we’re just getting started. We had four new caps today, obviously somebody’s got their 100th cap in Ben and Jamie [George] got his 50th and we feel like we’ve got a brilliant blend of experience and youth to drive us forward.
‘Being involved in training over the last few weeks has shown that for us and we’re looking forward to what’s in front of us as well.’
Farrell was delighted half-back partner Youngs was able to cap off his centurion of appearances for England with a championship title.
‘I’m chuffed for him,’ the England and Saracens star continued.
‘Obviously it’s a huge achievement winning 100 caps, second ever person for England. It’s massive.
‘To have such a good game like he did and now to top it off with a trophy, I’m chuffed for him.’
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