12 Mar 2012

England maintain slim hopes with France win

7:00 am on 12 March 2012

England clung on to their slim chances of claiming the Six Nations rugby title when a good start gave them a 24-22 victory over arch-rivals France in a see-saw match at the Stade de France yesterday.

England opened up a 14-3 early lead courtesy of tries from Manu Tuilagi and Ben Foden and held off the hosts in a tightly-fought second half, with flanker Tom Croft's late try effectively sealing the win.

Owen Farrell scored a penalty and added the extras to the three tries.

Stuart Lancaster's side still have a chance to win the championship if they beat Ireland at Twickenham next weekend and France win against table leaders Wales in Cardiff.

France, who beat England 19-12 in the World Cup quarter-finals last year, were kept afloat by Julien Dupuy, Lionel Beauxis and Morgan Parra's points from the tee until Wesley Fofana's late try but it proved not enough.