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Six Nations | Group Stage
Mar 16, 2024 at 8pm UK
 
France
33-31
England
Le Garrec (20'), Barre (56'), Fickou (60')
FT
Lawrence (40', 42'), Smith (46'), Freeman (75')

England lose to France in thrilling Six Nations finale

England lose to France in thrilling Six Nations finale
© Reuters
England are forced to settle for third place at the 2024 Six Nations owing to a pulsating 31-33 loss to France in the tournament's finale at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon.

England have been forced to settle for third place at the 2024 Six Nations owing to a pulsating 31-33 loss to France in the tournament's finale at the Groupama Stadium.

Steve Borthwick's side came out in Lyon safe in the knowledge that anything other than a defeat would see them finish second behind champions Ireland, but mistakes and naivety cost them.

Fabien Galthie's side roared into a 16-3 lead on the stroke of half time, with Nolann Le Garrec scoring a 20th-minute try, but Ollie Lawrence's effort and George Ford's conversion cut the deficit significantly.

The former immediately repeated his trick at the start of the second period before Ford put England ahead for the first time, and a Marcus Smith burst in the 46th minute increased the visitors' advantage.

England subsequently switched off following Smith's try, though as Leo Barre and Gael Fickou - benefitting from a line-out error - both went over, but the pendulum swung the visitors' way again in the 75th minute, when Tommy Freeman touched down and Ford did the rest.

However, England's one-point lead would not prove decisive, as with 80 minutes on the board, Borthwick's side conceded another penalty, which Thomas Ramos converted from range to bring the curtain down on an engrossing contest.

Prior to England's excruciating defeat, Ireland's 17-13 win over Scotland saw Andy Farrell's men retain their title, while Wales took home the Wooden Spoon with a 24-21 loss to Italy, thereby ending the tournament with five defeats from five matches.

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England's Marcus Smith celebrates with teammates after scoring a drop goal on March 9, 2024
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