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Tommy Freeman slumps to the floor after the agonising last-minute defeat to France – AP/Laurent CiprianiA stunning and breath-taking finale to the Six Nations Championship. The destination of the title may have been confirmed hours earlier, when Ireland were crowned as champions following their victory over Scotland, but it was the Le Crunch that stole the honours in this utterly compelling final chapter of ‘Super Saturday’.Once again it came down to a last-gasp kick, but this time it was England who felt the pain of having what would have been a sensational victory snatched from their grasp with a half-way penalty by French fly-half Thomas Ramos.Only minutes earlier, George Ford’s touchline conversion of Tommy Freeman’s try appeared to have sealed a dramatic victory for Steve Borthwick’s side and a second-place finish in the championship. It would have been a worthy conclusion, given the way that England had turned the game on its head with sensational blitz of three tries in seven minutes either side of half-time, with a brace of tries by Ollie Lawrence and one by Marcus Smith.Until then France had been on course for a comfortable victory, having established a 16-3 lead from a try by Nolann Le Garrec and three penalties by Ramos, and their heavyweight pack winning all the key collisions.France still had the wherewithal to snatch back the momentum with tries by Leo Barre and Gael Fickou but England’s remarkable resilience, spearheaded by another explosive display by Ben Earl, and brilliant distribution by Henry Slade, added another twist, when Freeman, another who excelled, crossed in the 76th minute.They would outscore their hosts by four tries to three, and while Ramos’ 47-metre kick went a long way to bringing to an end France’s long World Cup hangover, England’s campaign drew to a close full of hope and excitement. No-one can doubt now that they are not on the right track.France beat England in final match of Six Nations, as it happened10:23 PM GMTThe decisive momentHarsh on England?10:15 PM GMTShaun Edwards speaks to ITV – ‘That was the worst defensive display since I arrived in France’“Our attack was great but I was very disappointed with the defence. You should not have to score 30 points to win a Test match. Our midfield [was where the problem was] we were missing tackles. We need to sort that out – it was the worst defensive display since I arrived in France.”Story continues10:10 PM GMTBrian Moore’s verdict – ‘England have made progress this Six Nations’10:08 PM GMTSteve Borthwick speaks to ITV – ‘I am proud of the players’On the emotions in the camp…“I am really disappointed for the players – they worked so hard. I am proud they’ve worked hard to progress.”On the performance…“Sometimes you just have to stay in the fight – they boys did well. Ultimately we ran out of time. When you play like that you don’t actually lose, you just run out of time.”On England’s Six Nations…“I’ll review the tournament properly, I’ll take my time…but what we’ve shown over the past two weeks is that we can take on the top-four teams. But we don’t just want to compete, we want to win.”10:00 PM GMTWho shone during defeat to France?Here are the player ratings from Lyon after a memorable match.READ: Player ratings: England’s Ollie Chessum takes the fight to FranceRising high: Ollie Chessum – Getty Images/Olivier Chassingnole09:57 PM GMTJamie George speaks to ITV – ‘We’re a team on an upward curve’On the emotions after the defeat…“Devastating – similar to the last time we were in France against South Africa [in the World Cup]. France showed their class but we are a team definitely on an upward curve.”On the performance…“Way we came out after the break we were impressive we put France under a lot of pressure but fair play to them they show their class and fair play to Ramos for slotting that over.”On the championship…“We let ourselves down against Scotland. But [today] we gave it a good go, our scrum and set piece held up well. I’ve loved the last seven weeks.”09:53 PM GMTData Insights from Sage09:48 PM GMTFULL-TIME: France 33 England 31England cannot win the ball from the restart and France manage to see the game out in the last 40 seconds.Brilliant match to finish the championship. Both sides contributed to that – bravo to both. France found the reserves to pip England who played some outstanding stuff and finish in third place with their victors tonight in second.09:45 PM GMTPenalty for France!France 33 England 31Ramos missed the previous kick but he doesn’t miss this – it easily has the legs and France are two points up with less than a minute to go.09:44 PM GMT78 mins: France 30 England 31France are in the England half they are keeping the ball alive knowing they have an advantage for a no-arms tackle by Earl (I think…). They go back for the penalty and Ramos will have a go for goal from the halfway. Big moment coming up…09:43 PM GMT76 mins: France 30 England 31What a brilliant match – what character and what attacking verve from England.09:42 PM GMTTRY FOR ENGLAND!France 30 England 31What hands! Brilliant from Ford – he’s up flat and makes a lovely pass that sucks in the France defence, Smith does equally well to set up Freeman who scores in the corner – remarkable stuff. Ford then makes the conversion from the right touchline and England now have a one-point lead.09:39 PM GMT73 mins: France 30 England 24England are struggling to get into the French half – not ideal when six points behind. As I type that they do boot it long but France win the line out before Donbrandt turns the ball over – will that prove to be vital? Ford finds touch and England will have a line out 13 metres out.09:37 PM GMT71 mins: France 30 England 24Collector’s item as Ramos misses – his first of the match. That will give England some hope they can win this.09:36 PM GMT69 mins: France 30 England 24It’s been a fine response from France after those trio of England tries either side of the break. They have a line out on the England 22, big moment for the visitors. France move the ball down the line after the set piece and it looks as though Freeman turns the ball over and is free BUT he knocked on in the process and France will have a penalty…no shock to see them opt for the points. Ramos hasn’t missed a thing and if successful here the hosts will be at least two score ahead.09:32 PM GMTData Insights from Sage09:32 PM GMT67 mins: France 30 England 24Knock on from England after a kick through from Barre. The advantage is over when the hosts kick long.09:29 PM GMT65 mins: France 30 England 24England are trying to slow France down at the breakdown. A big last 15 minutes in prospect.09:27 PM GMT62 mins: France 30 England 24It’s England who need to take stock now – having been eight points up they are now six behind. They need the next score, you suspect.09:26 PM GMTTRY FOR FRANCE!France 30 England 24England shoot themselves in the foot and hand France this score. It’s a line out and it’s thrown long and loose. Ramos is the first to react and kicks long. It falls to Penaud who plays in Fickou who runs over the line unopposed – Lyon is now rocking and France are in front once again. Ramos adds the extras – he’s not missed a thing today.09:23 PM GMT59 mins: France 23 England 24On comes Manu Tuilagi – not a bad player to bring on with 20 minutes to go. Will this be his last appearance in an England shirt?09:21 PM GMTHere’s the fine Smith try09:20 PM GMTTRY FOR FRANCE!France 23 England 24France have possession for what seems like the first time this half. They are on the front foot again, England are under heavywieght pressure and they cannot hold out as having barge holes with the big men they throw it wide and Le Garrec and Ollivon find Barre who goes over from close range. Ramos adds the extras and we now have a one-point game. What a match we have on our hands.09:17 PM GMT52 mins: France 16 England 24Ford’s controlled the game well so far – to think that some called for him to be dropped…

#Nations #heartbreak #England #79thminute #penalty #France #victory

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