England on course for 6 Nations Grand Slam

 England on course for 6 Nations Grand Slam

England maintained its 100% record in this season’s RBS 6 Nations tournament with a gruelling 17-9 victory over France at Twickenham on Saturday to raise expectations of achieving the Grand Slam with two games left to play.

The fixtures fell kindly for England this year and Martin Johnson’s team has not disappointed in registering wins in Wales and at home to Italy and now France. Scotland go to Twickenham in two week’s time and another England victory is expected with the Scots looking impotent when losing their two opening fixtures. The final game will be at Croke Park in Dublin against an Irish team that lost at home to France and struggled to avoid embarrassment with a narrow win in Italy.

Saturday’s game against the French was considered by many as the 6 Nations decider given the supremacy of the two sets of players this year. Between them, the two sides had racked up 144 points in their opening two fixtures but expectations of a high scoring game were soon dispelled in a tight, bruising encounter. The teams went into the half-time break with three penalties each before Ben Foden crossed in the second half for the solitary try which won the game.

England manager Martin Johnson didn’t want to discuss winning the Grand Slam, "What's the point? If you want to do something you talk about it at the end. If you do before, you set yourself up for a fall," Johnson said.

His players are also remaining tight lipped until they’ve taken on Scotland for the Calcutta Cup on 13 March, a game that is always hotly contested even when recent form might suggest otherwise. Man of the match, Tom Palmer wouldn’t be drawn, the lock forward dismissed the question with his comment: "One more game and maybe we can start talking about the Grand Slam."

Les Bleus coach, Marc Lievremont certainly expects England to make a clean sweep, "I said before the game that I think the England side is better than us at the moment," the Frenchman said.
"They are the best team in the north hemisphere, and now they have won today the path to the Grand Slam is wide open.”
 

RBS 6 NATIONS TABLE (26 February 2011)
TEAMS P Pts
England 3 6
Wales 3 4
France 3 4
Ireland 2 2
Scotland 2 0
Italy 3 0

 

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