the English press looks back on the “darkest day” in the history of its rugby

Maro Itoje and teammate Jamie George at the end of the Six Nations match between England and France at Twickenham Stadium on March 11.

In the nation that invented rugby, Saturday March 11, 2023 is, according to the English press, “the darkest day” of the history of the XV of the Rose. Sunday, the day after the crushing defeat inflicted by the Blues (10-53) in the Six Nations Tournament, the record is uncompromising for the troops of coach Steve Borthwick.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers France beats the XV of the Rose in its temple in the Six Nations Tournament

This “Darkest Day” for England, on their land, in the mythical enclosure of the Twickenham stadium, “has been a lot of things – a pounding, a smash, a shame – but it hasn’t been a riddle”sums it up like this The Telegraph.

Captain Ellis Genge’s teammates “have arrived harboring some kind of elaborate fantasy about starting a new chapter in their ‘adventure’continues the newspaper. They leave having seen the most terrifying of reflections in the mirror, their distressing banality highlighted by the brilliance of a ruthless France”.

The contrast between a XV de la Rose which had “fear of his shadow” and a tricolor group “enterprising, determined and devastatingly fast” was blatant.

The team was “disastrous from start to finish”abounds The Sunin an article titled “Sacre Bleus”. “France had been waiting eighteen years for a victory at Twickenham as part of the Six Nationsrecalls the tabloid. But his players could never have imagined it would be so easy or so wide, as they scored SEVEN tries. »

“The guillotine fell brutally”

No wonder, then, that the few supporters who “did not leave the place well before the end” of the meeting went there with their whistles at the end of the match, argues The Sun. “Plenty of boos, followed by plenty of booze”, wrote the BBC on Saturday, on its live follow-up of the meeting. Non-literal translation: “Lots of whistles, then lots of beers to whistle. » And to react to the tears – they, of joy – of the coach of the Blues, Fabien Galthié: “I imagine he’s not the only one crying after this performance. »

Supporters begin to leave Twickenham Stadium as the scoreboard shows the final score (10-53) of the Six Nations Championship match between England and France on March 11, 2023.

“The guillotine fell brutally and definitively. England have had a few tough days over the years, but nothing like that record beating inflicted by France”underline The Guardianwelcoming the performance ” outstanding “ bruises.

“By the end of the match, even England’s worst day at Twickenham, the 42-6 slap in the face by South Africa in 2008, was all but a memory. Steve Borthwick’s team had dared to hope that this weekend would be an opportunity to glimpse a brighter future on the horizon. Instead, it turned out to be the headlights of a French TGV speeding along, crushing everything in its path. »

“They have no excuse. I’d like to chalk it up to poor performance, but [les limites] of England have been highlighted”concedes, for his part, the former English scrum-half Matt Dawson, for the BBC5.

After the inaugural defeat in the Tournament against Scotland (29-23), also at Twickenham, and after only four games at the head of the selection, Steve Borthwick already seems at a crossroads. “This will increase doubts about the tactics put in place by the staff. We wondered if England were playing good rugby. They can’t hope to beat the best teams like this.”asserts Matt Dawson.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers During the “crunch”, the Blues storm the fortress of Twickenham

The technician can count on the support of the Timeswho believes that his predecessor Eddie Jones “left him very few good cards in his hand”but the daily takes refuge above all in a panegyric of the Blues, who delivered, according to him, a “rugby from another planet”

“It was glorious. It was superb. It was absolutely devastating and irresistible. It was France (…) using the language of modern rugby but directly based on its heritage of technique, speed and attack”, packs the yet very serious conservative newspaper. For him there is no doubt: “at this level of form”the tricolor XV is the “new favourite” for the World Cup on home soil in the fall (September 8-October 28, 2023).

“Huge gap” with France and Ireland

The American media also enjoyed the rout of the XV de la Rose: “The Crunch? The humiliation of England by France was The Crumble”quips ESPN.

“A moment of pure pathos – rain falling on Twickenham, England learning a painful lesson from a team that is years ahead of them. The evening was meant to serve as a reminder of how far France have come since the last World Cup, but it’s rare that two hours have given England such a stark realization of the huge gulf that separates them from France and Ireland. »

For England, the immediate future is far from rosy, as their final Six Nations match sees them take on Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on March 18. The XV of Clover will play the final victory in the competition and had, itself, beaten France (32-19).

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“Who knows what [qu’elle] going to do from now on?interrogates The Independent. The literal answer is that you have to travel to Dublin to face the unstoppable force of the world’s number one team, in seven days, but far greater philosophical questions arise and it is hard to believe [que l’équipe a] the answers. »

And The Sun to wish soberly to the XV of the Rose: “Good luck [« bonne chance »]. »


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