May's hat-trick helps England hammer Les Bleus

Mathieu Bastareaud

Mathieu Bastareaud

England played in the empty spaces and France had no response for that simple strategy, resulting in their eighth defeat since beating Eddie Jones' side in last year's Six Nations.

Jonny May scored a first-half hat-trick as England routed France 44-8 at Twickenham to maintain their flawless record in the 2019 Six Nations.

"We're going to have to be at our absolute best", Jones said.

The die of England's go-to attacking tactic was cast in the opening exchanges and France failed to find any answers. When all around you are losing their heads the one thing a team requires is a steady hand but Guirado had a disastrous opening few minutes which unsettled the rest of the team and set the pattern of the humiliation.

"And the second half I thought our performance was even better".

As his side ran out 44-8 winners here at Twickenham, there was evidence that England were heeding his advice: they thrashed Les Bleus and took one step closer to winning a Grand Slam that would establish them as the team to beat at the World Cup this year.

Though England skipper Owen Farrell missed the conversion, he soon had his first points of the match after converting a penalty to make it 8-0.

Following a touchline flare-up, Farrell chased up his own kick as England scored yet another try by putting the ball behind a powerful but sluggish France.

"Our focus and discipline to keep France scoreless was outstanding".

For England, the signs are positive, but they will have to go to Wales in the next round and do it all again against the only other unbeaten side in what could prove an early Six Nations decider. "We had a quick chat after the game and we felt we left 15 or 20 points on the field today so there is a lot more in this team".

By halftime, England had the bonus-point fourth try. "It wasn't the flawless game but it also says to us how much more we have in us and that's exciting".

But Gatland also knows the size of Wales' task when they meet a team undefeated against them in Six Nations combat since 2013.

He appears to be knocking hard on the door to replace Morgan Parra as France's No.9 - how much longer can Jacques Brunel ignore him?

And, he's also learned that he needs to be less autocratic with John Mitchell appointed in September and Scott Wisemantel, who came in on a temporary basis in the summer, given the job on a more permanent basis recently too.

"Their kicking game was world-class", said fullback Thomas Ramos, who only came on for the second half, where France limited the damage after reaching the interval 30-8 down.

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