England head coach Eddie Jones has called upon fans to maintain faith in the team's development after a disappointing Six Nations campaign ended with a 25-13 loss to France.

Saturday's defeat to the Grand Slam champions ensured England finished third in the 2022 standings, after Wales suffered a shock loss to Italy and Ireland beat Scotland in the final round of fixtures.

England have now lost three games in three separate editions of the Six Nations under the Australian, having done so just twice in 16 campaigns prior to his 2015 appointment.

But Jones has called upon supporters to maintain faith in the team, which he says is going through a "rebuilding" process ahead of next year's World Cup in France. 

"They [England fans] have got to have some faith," Jones said on Sunday. "I think I have done a reasonable job for England over the past seven years.

"We are going through a period now where we are rebuilding the team and it takes time. Look at the French team, it took them three years to win the [Six Nations] Championship [after appointing head coach Fabien Galthie in 2019].

"We have rebuilt the side from the last Six Nations [after finishing fifth in 2021]. I think the progress is very positive, [but] the results aren't the results we would like.

"We would all like to be winning tournaments and be top of the table, but we are not quite good enough to do that now.

"But within the next 12 to 14 months when we prepare for the World Cup, we will be."

England head coach Eddie Jones conceded he had not "done a good enough job" after his side suffered a 25-13 loss to France, who secured a long-awaited Six Nations title and Grand Slam on Saturday.

A second-half try from Freddie Steward gave England hope, but Antoine Dupont went over on the hour to secure victory for Les Bleus at the Parc des Princes.

It was England's third defeat of the tournament, and the third time they have lost as many under the Australian, having done so just twice in 16 editions before his appointment in 2015.

Questions have been asked about Jones' position, but following the defeat, the 62-year-old said they were "for other people".

"That is not a question I need to answer," he said. "I just do my job, it is a question for other people to answer. I am not even thinking about that."

"I'm disappointed, disappointed for the fans, for the players, I obviously haven't done a good enough job, I accept that, but we're moving in the right direction. The results aren't good enough. When you rebuild a team it takes time.

"France are deserved champions of the Six Nations, they are the best team, but we had enough chances to win that game, we just didn't put them away, we were not quite clinical enough in doing that.

"That has been a little bit of the story of us in the Six Nations, we have put ourselves in position to win the three games we have lost but not been clinical enough, not been good enough, particularly in some of our clean out work to win those games.

"So that is disappointing, but the spirit we showed is going to make sure this team keeps moving in the right direction."

England finished in third-place after Wales' shock loss to Italy and Ireland's win over Scotland in the final round of matches in the 2022 tournament.

France coach Fabien Galthie called his side's Six Nations title "destiny" after he led them to their first Grand Slam in a dozen years with a 25-13 win over England on Saturday.

Les Bleus triumphed on their own turf at the Stade de France to throw down a gauntlet ahead of next year's home World Cup, where they will now be among the hot favourites.

Speaking after the full-time whistle confirmed they had edged Ireland for the crown, Galthie was ecstatic to get over the line two decades on from winning the championship as a player.

"After the frustration of second place, to finally be in first?" he said. "It's great. We're not doing somersaults yet because we're at a press conference, but they will come!"

"There was a lot of tension during the match, because there was a lot of expectation. The symbolism of the Grand Slam was strong.

"We've not experienced this type of close match, [and] this tension jumped out at us. But it's an incredible first experience that will make us grow even more.

“It proves that we made the right choices, built the right team. It also means that we are on the right path with a team that is still young.

"This Saturday evening, the average age was 26 years old. The team will continue to grow and progress until the World Cup."

"It's a long way between 2002 and 2022. But there is no coincidence. The path makes the destiny. Twenty years earlier, I am on the ground.

"Twenty years later, I am in the stands and I accompany the players to claim the trophy. It's nice to still be able to touch this feeling!"

With the 2023 edition of the World Cup on home soil, France will be heading in pursuit of a maiden triumph, having finished as runners-up three times since 1987.

France team manager Raphael Ibanez celebrated a "major step" for rugby in the country after Les Blues secured a Six Nations Grand Slam with a 25-13 win over England.

Antoine Dupont's 61st-minute try made safe France's first Six Nations title since 2010, with England's Freddie Steward having reduced Les Blues' 18-6 half-time lead in Paris.

France have now won their sixth title since Italy joined the competition in 2000, with only England (seven) boasting more successes in that time, with Wales also winning six.

After capping a fantastic campaign, France have also won their last six Grand Slam deciders in the Six Nations (and previously in the Five Nations), winning the decisive match in 1997, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2010 and 2022 when going into their final game with a 100 per cent winning record.

Speaking to ITV Sport after the win in Paris, Ibanez labelled the triumph a "major step" for French rugby, but called upon the team to continue improving, insisting "there is more to come".

"Twelve years is a very long time [without a title] and it's been a very intense final game," Ibanez said. "But we got the reward. 

"I think we were very lucky to have a fantastic group of players.

"Fair play to England, they tried to break our defence, but I think the team spirit and tactics won us the game. 

"I would recommend our players to keep their feet on the ground because it's a major step for this team tonight and there is more to come. 

"I think we can still improve our game."

France lock Thibaud Flament said he was struggling to process the achievement in its immediate aftermath.

"It's an amazing feeling," the 24-year-old told ITV. "I'm so happy for the team.

"We knew it was going to be a very tough game. The defence was really good, and we managed to win in the end.

"I still can't believe what's happened. It's an amazing feeling and I'm so proud."

No team has secured the Six Nations Grand Slam on more occasions than France, with Les Blues doing so for the fourth time after also accomplishing the feat in 2002, 2004, and 2010. Only Wales can match that haul of 100 per cent records.

England captain Courtney Lawes was left with contrasting emotions as his side succumbed to a 25-13 loss to France, who secured a long-awaited Six Nations title and Grand Slam on Saturday.

Marcus Smith's eight points from the boot and a second-half try from Freddie Steward kept England in contention, but Antoine Dupont slipped over on the hour to claim victory at the Parc des Princes.

That condemned Eddie Jones' side to three losses in the tournament for a third time under the Australian, having done so just twice in 16 editions before his appointment.

As France lifted their first Six Nations title since 2010 and sixth overall, Lawes could only hail the efforts of his team despite acknowledging the frustrations of losing out again.

"We're pretty disappointed to be honest," Lawes told ITV after the game. "We certainly had them in fitness – we felt like they were getting tired and we just failed to capitalise.

"It's on us and we've got a lot to learn from obviously. But I'm proud of the boys' effort still.

"It's hard to say straight after the game but we'll go back and iron out any kinks. It is what it is and we'd have obviously have loved to go out and get the win.

"I really thought we were going to do it at a few stages in the game but we didn't capitalise well enough.

"We really believed we could spoil the party – and I know we were capable of it because we've got the team for it. We just need to be more clinical, execute better and we can't let them off the hook that many times.

"They got so many turnovers at the breakdown and we didn't deliver there."

England ended up settling for third-place in the 2022 edition, having lost to Scotland, Ireland and France and defeating Italy and Wales.

Meanwhile, France will be eyeing World Cup glory on home turf next year after managing their fourth Grand Slam, with only Wales recording as many in the championship.

Antoine Dupont guided France to a long-awaited Six Nations title as they saw off England to clinch the Grand Slam with a 25-13 win at the Stade de France.

Les Bleus captain Dupont led the way in Saint-Denis with a superb second-half try to help Fabien Galthie's side end a 12-year wait for their 18th championship and sixth of the Six Nations era.

Victory over England put France ahead of Ireland in the final standings after consecutive runner-up finishes in 2020 and 2021 saw them miss out on the top prize.

A year out from a home Rugby World Cup, France look the team to beat in Europe, while questions will be asked of England ahead to those finals.

Olivier Giroud has been handed a recall by France and a chance to put himself firmly back in Didier Deschamps' World Cup plans.

The Milan striker has not featured in a match for France since Les Bleus exited Euro 2020 at the hands of Switzerland last June.

He has 46 goals for his country in 110 games, which puts him only five strikes behind Thierry Henry on the team's all-time list.

It appeared Giroud's international career might be over as coach Deschamps opted against calling him into recent squads.

However, a calf injury sustained by Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, ruling him out of Sunday's game against Barcelona, has led to Giroud landing a summons to join up with France for the upcoming friendlies against Ivory Coast and South Africa.

The French Football Federation announced the news on its website, adding that the France staff wished Benzema "a swift recovery".

Deschamps spoke about Giroud after excluding him from a 23-player squad on Thursday, pointing to the 35-year-old's impressive form for Milan.

Giroud has helped Milan top Serie A, scoring eight goals in 20 games in the league, ahead of Saturday's trip to face Cagliari.

Assessing Giroud, Deschamps said: "It's going well for him at the moment. He's scoring important goals with Milan. I'm happy for him.

"I've got decisions to make. I know what Olivier is capable of doing with us. He remains available to France even if I haven't called him up for this get-together."

Now, though, Giroud comes into the picture once again, eight months out from the World Cup in Qatar.

France play Ivory Coast in Marseille on March 25, and South Africa in Lille four days later.

England boss Eddie Jones has rung the changes ahead of the team's Six Nations trip to Paris on Saturday, as his side attempt to deny France a first Grand Slam since 2010.

George Furbank will replace Freddie Steward at full-back, with Steward moving to the wing after playing the former role in each of England's previous four games. 

The Northampton man's introduction represents one of five changes made by Eddie Jones, with Ben Youngs, Nick Isiekwe, Sam Underhill, and Will Stuart the other players to be introduced, as Tom Curry, Harry Randall, Kyle Sinckler, and the suspended Charlie Ewels all drop out.

Max Malins, meanwhile, has been dropped from the squad entirely after playing every minute of the previous four Six Nations outings, as the visitors look to salvage some pride from a disappointing campaign.

Jones, who has won three Six Nations titles since taking the England reigns in 2015, has been faced with speculation regarding his future in recent days, with the team facing the prospect of finishing fifth in consecutive Six Nations campaigns, having done so in 2021.

However, the 62-year-old, while disappointed to be out of contention for the trophy, was looking forward to seeing how his much-changed side faired against Les Blues.

"This is our strongest 23 for the game against France," he said.

"We are disappointed not to be in the contention for the trophy, but last week's effort against Ireland was full of pride, energy and tactical discipline.

"We have focused on refreshing the team this week and we are ready to empty the tank on Saturday."

Only one of the last nine Six Nations meetings between France and England has been won by the visiting team, with England prevailing 31-21 back in 2016.

 

England: George Furbank, Freddie Steward, Joe Marchant, Henry Slade, Jack Nowell, Marcus Smith, Ben Youngs; Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Will Stuart, Maro Itoje, Nick Isiekwe, Courtney Lawes, Sam Underhill, Sam Simmonds.

Replacements: Nic Dolly, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Ollie Chessum, Alex Dombrandt, Harry Randal, George Ford, Elliot Daly.

All eyes will be on the Stade de France on Saturday as the 2022 Six Nations comes to a conclusion when leaders France take on England.

While the visitors can finish no higher than third place, Eddie Jones' men will revel in being the ultimate party poopers in Paris.

Victory for France in 'Le Crunch' will seal a first Grand Slam since 2010, though Les Blues could still finish top and land a first title since then should Ireland fail to beat Scotland.

Saturday's other fixture sees Wales take on pointless Italy in Cardiff and, while there may be little riding on that game, it will be a milestone occasion for a couple of players.

Ahead of the final round of fixtures, Stats Perform previews each match with help from Opta.


FRANCE V ENGLAND

FORM

The omens are good for France as two of their previous three Six Nations Grand Slams have been completed with victory over England in the final round, in 2004 and again six years later, while just one of the past nine games between these sides in the competition has been won by the visitors – England prevailing 31-21 in 2016.

Fabien Galthie's charges have lost just one of their past eight home games in the competition, with that solitary defeat coming at the hands of Scotland last year as they chased a big winning margin to pip Wales to the title.

England are aiming to avoid losing three matches in a single edition of the Six Nations for the third time in seven years playing under Eddie Jones, having also done so in 2018 and 2021, and for a fifth time overall. 


ONES TO WATCH

Damian Penaud, who has a joint-high three tries in this year's tournament, is back in France's starting XV after recovering from coronavirus, replacing the injured Yoram Moefana. France have scored seven tries from counter-attacks this year, which is at least three more than any other team, so pacey Penaud could cause some damage this weekend.

England will need to work incredibly hard if they are to stop arguably the world's top side right now and hope that their key players turn up. In Marcus Smith they boast a player who leads the way for points in 2022 with 63, 19 more than next-best Melvyn Jaminet.

 

IRELAND V SCOTLAND

FORM

Ireland must beat Scotland earlier on Saturday if they are to remain in title contention and they have a great recent record in this fixture, winning seven of their last eight Six Nations meetings.

That record is even better on home soil, meanwhile, having been victorious in 10 of the last 11 encounters in the competition, including each of the last five in a row. Scotland's only win in that run came at Croke Park in 2010.

Fourth-placed Scotland have won five of their last six away games in the tournament, however, which is as many as they had managed in their previous 43.


ONES TO WATCH

Ireland were made to work hard for their victory against an England side that played almost the entire 80 minutes with 14 men last week, but they did ultimately get the job done. Jamison Gibson-Park led the way for passes in that match with 59 – more than double any opposition player – and he has a joint-high three assists in this edition.

Finn Russell is level with Gibson-Park on three assists, but he has been surprisingly omitted from Scotland's squad for the match at the Aviva Stadium due to his growing indiscipline and poor form. Ali Price is next for Scotland on the assists list with two, and there will now be more focus on him on what is his 51st cap.



WALES V ITALY

FORM

Wales are aiming to climb two places and finish third and will be confident of fulfilling their half of the bargain by claiming a bonus-point win against bottom side Italy. The Dragons have won each of their last 14 in this fixture, last tasting defeat in 2007.

After losing at home to France in their most recent home match, Wales are aiming to avoid successive losses at the Principality Stadium in the competition for the first time in 15 years, when losing their final such game in 2006 and first in 2007.

Italy will claim the Wooden Spoon once again having lost all five games this year, stretching their record losing run in the tournament to 36 matches. The Azzurri's most recent win away from home came against Scotland in 2015.

ONES TO WATCH

This will be a special occasion for Dan Biggar, who is in line for his 100th cap, and Alun Wyn Jones, who returns for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury against New Zealand in October for his 150th appearance. That makes the Wales skipper the first player to win 150 or more caps for a single nation in history.

Ange Capuozzo has been handed a first Test start after making a big impression in an otherwise disappointing campaign for Italy. The Grenoble full-back has scored two tries in this year's Six Nations, accounting for half of Italy's total, with both of those coming in a 34-minute appearance against Scotland in round four.

France winger Damian Penaud has returned to Fabien Galthie's squad ahead of Saturday's Six Nations clash with England.

The Clermont star was ruled out of the week-four match with Wales after testing positive for COVID-19, but has now completed his isolation period and is back in the fold as France go in search of a Grand Slam.

Centre Yoram Moefana drops out of the 23-man selection as Les Bleus favour a six-two split between forwards and backs on the bench for the fixture at Stade de France.

Romain Taofifenua also returns among the replacements following his own positive coronavirus test earlier this month.

The hosts will complete a first Grand Slam since 2010 if they defeat Eddie Jones' visitors, and could still win the championship for the first time in a dozen years even in defeat.

Galthie will know what his side must do by the time they take to the field, with lone title rivals Ireland set to play before them against Scotland in Dublin.

France: Melvyn Jaminet, Damian Penaud, Gael Fickou, Jonathan Danty, Gabin Villiere, Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont, Gregory Alldritt, Anthony Jelonch, Francois Cros, Paul Willemse, Cameron Woki, Uini Atonio, Julien Marchand, Cyril Baille

Replacements: Peato Mauvaka, Jean-Baptiiste Gros, Mohamed Haouas, Romain Taofifenua, Thibaud Flament, Dylan Cretin, Maxime Lucu, Thomas Ramos

England lock Charlie Ewels has been given a three-match ban for the red card he received early on against Ireland last weekend.

The 26-year-old was dismissed just 82 seconds into Saturday's 32-15 defeat at Twickenham after clashing heads with opposite number James Ryan.

That red card was the earliest ever in the Six Nations, with each of the three quickest in the competition's history each coming in the last two editions.

Ewels will now miss England's final game of this year's tournament against France in Paris, as well as Bath's Premiership fixtures against Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors.

However, he can undertake a Coaching Intervention Programme to have that suspension reduced to two matches, meaning he will be available to face Worcester on March 30.

Ewels was facing a possible ban of up to six weeks, but that was halved due to mitigating factors such as an early acceptance of the red and his remorse.

 

England's defeat to Ireland means they cannot finish any higher than third in this year's tournament.

Next opponents France are two points better off than Ireland, who host Scotland in the final round of fixtures, and are one win away from a first title and Grand Slam since 2010.

Two of France's three previous Grand Slams have been completed with a win over England in the final round, in 2004 and 2010.

England head to Paris aiming to avoid losing three games in a single edition of the competition for a third time under Eddie Jones, previously doing so in 2018 and 2021.

Dan Biggar and Alun Wyn Jones are in line to claim their 100th and 150th Wales caps when Wayne Pivac's side host Italy in the Six Nations on Saturday.

Wales sit fifth in the table after falling to a third defeat in four outings following a 13-9 loss to France last Friday, with their only win coming against Scotland on February 12.

However, Pivac's team will be boosted by the return of Jones, who comes back into the starting side for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury against New Zealand at the end of October.

Biggar retains the captaincy despite 36-year-old Jones returning, with the former set to become the seventh Welshman to win 100 caps for his country.

Coach Pivac, who has made seven changes to his team that lost against table-toppers France, believes the pair deserve to share their milestone appearances together.

"We've said with other players reaching 100 appearances what an achievement that is and for Dan I know he's been looking forward to this moment for a long time," Pivac told reporters on Tuesday.

"For him to achieve it with Al, who is also getting the milestone of 150 caps – which no other player has ever done – I think it's fitting for those two to share the day.

"They've played a lot of rugby together and have a healthy respect for each other. They've given so much for the game in Wales."

Gareth Davies is in line for his first start in this year's Six Nations, with Johnny McNicholl, Louis Rees-Zammit and Willis Halaholo all recalled in the backline as well.

Meanwhile, Dewi Lake, Dillon Lewis and last year's Lions captain Jones are the forwards who come in, with Ryan Elias, Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Tomas Francis,  Liam Williams, Tomos Williams and Will Rowlands dropping out of the starting side.

On the changes, Pivac added: "We've made a few changes this week. With one game to go there are some players we need to see out there and put them in the matchday 23.

"We've certainly selected a side which we think can get the job done. Clearly that's what we're here for. There's an opportunity to move up that table, so we think this is an exciting team and one we're looking forward to seeing out there.

"Italy are a side that's improving, they've had some bad luck here and there and with a new coach transitioning we know it takes a bit of time.

"But we know they've got some very good rugby players and as you saw against Scotland they troubled them in that second half and for long periods of the first. So we're going to have to be on our game and we're very much looking forward to playing at home again this weekend.

"We had a good result against Scotland, gave the fans something to cheer about and came very close against an in-form France. Obviously disappointed we couldn't get across the line for our fans there and we hope we can do that this weekend and finish on a high."

Wales team: Johnny McNicholl, Louis Rees-Zammit, Owen Watkin, Uilisi Halaholo, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Gareth Thomas, Dewi Lake, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Seb Davies, Josh Navidi, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Bradley Roberts, Wyn Jones, Leon Brown, Will Rowlands, Ross Moriarty, Kieran Hardy, Callum Sheedy, Nick Tompkins.

Jack Willis has been included in England's squad for the first time in over a year for Saturday's Six Nations clash with France.

The flanker suffered a serious knee injury against Italy in February last year and only returned to action for Wasps last month.

With Tom Curry ruled out of the contest at Stade de France with a hamstring problem sustained in the 32-15 defeat to Ireland, Willis has a chance of featuring.

Kyle Sinckler was also part of the 34-player squad named by Eddie Jones on Monday and will follow return-to-play protocols after being concussed against Ireland.

England are out of contention for the Six Nations title ahead of their final match of this year's tournament after winning two and losing two of their first four games.

Opponents France are top of the standings as they seek a first title and first Grand Slam since 2010.

Fabien Galthie says France are in the "dream scenario" as they stand on the brink of a Grand Slam but knows the Six Nations leaders face a massive test against England.

Anthony Jelonch scored the only try of an almighty battle with Wales at the Principality Stadium, where Les Bleus won 13-9 on Friday to maintain their 100 per cent record.

France defended magnificently to keep the holders at bay in Cardiff and have a first title since 2010 in their sights.

England will arrive at Stade de France determined to spoil the party and can also be crowned champions with a win in the French capital if they beat Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday.

France head coach Galthie sees his side as a work in progress and is prepared for a tense evening in Paris.

"The dream scenario is to win the games, Four wins after four rounds, that was our ambition. We have learned from the past, this is still a team in progress," said Galthie.

"We have managed to balance things in this competition in terms of our efforts. Four wins, that is what you dream of. Now we will turn our attention to the final match against England.

“It’s England, the finalists from the last World Cup, a huge rugby nation. We can't make a mistake about our opponent.

"We have to start the preparation in a pleasant way, while enjoying this [win over Wales] and this weekend. We will flip on Monday and prepare with our method and our conviction. There will be a match to play, as always."

It was not pretty as France dug in to defeat Wales and Galthie was delighted with the way they went about their business.

He added: "The key is to win, differently, agreed, but it's good to win. The winning streak is the hardest thing to do, especially here against a very good tactical side.

"We had a week with the players suffering from the flu and we were hit by Covid. Despite a number of players missing time, the team came and got the win and that is important.

"We won five turnovers at the breakdown, while being disciplined and conceding just eight penalties. The know-how of our defensive line, with big tackles, good entries into the rucks and playing the ball, that's a box that is ticked by the players collectively and individually."

France will go for Grand Slam glory next week after resisting a determined effort from Wales to snatch a huge 13-9 win in Cardiff.

Coach Fabien Galthie's team were pushed hard by last season's Six Nations champions, and it was their tenacity more than their flowing rugby that secured the French victory.

The only try of the contest came from Anthony Jelonch in the first half, with Wales unable to breach their opponents' line.

It means France will welcome England to the Stade de France in eight days' time for 'Le Crunch', with a first Grand Slam since 2010 in their sights.

France snatched a third-minute lead through Melvyn Jaminet's penalty after an infringement by Josh Navidi, but Wales were swiftly back on terms when captain Dan Biggar drilled a confident reply.

Jelonch's second international try arrived in the ninth minute as France's snappy running rugby brought early reward, with the flanker the man to dash in on the left wing.

Jaminet booted the extras, and Wales, who lost Tomos Williams to an early injury, struggled to contain the blue shirts for a spell, until a Biggar penalty closed the gap.

With 10 wins in their last 11 Six Nations games at the Principality Stadium, Wales were not giving this up early and began to impose pressure on the French try-line.

The hosts lost Gareth Thomas to a head blow and were twice penalised after getting close to the French posts.

But Wales' luck changed with the award of a penalty in front, which Biggar drove through the uprights to snip France's lead to one point at the break.

Jaminet nudged France into a four-point lead once more with another penalty, but the game remained in the balance, the vaunted visitors struggling to put it away.

Jonathan Davies fumbled as Wales looked to go for the line down the left, but still the home side kept pressing.

Jaminet missed a late chance to boost France's lead when his long-range kick drifted wide, but Wales could not take advantage of that let-off.

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