In the nation that invented rugby, Saturday, March 11, 2023 is, according to the English press, "the darkest day" in the history of the XV de la 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.
This 'darkest day' for England on home soil in the legendary grounds of Twickenham Stadium 'was a lot of things - a pounding, a smash, a disgrace - but it wasn't. an enigma, ”summarizes The Telegraph.
Captain Ellis Genge's teammates "arrived harboring some sort of elaborate fantasy about starting a new chapter in their 'adventure,'" the paper continued. 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 who was "afraid of its shadow" and an "enterprising, determined and devastatingly fast tricolor" group was glaring.
The team was "disastrous from start to finish", abounds The Sun, in an article titled "Sacre Bleus". “France had been waiting eighteen years for a victory at Twickenham as part of the Six Nations, recalls 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 "hadn't left 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 stream of the match. 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 that he is not the only one to cry after this performance. »
“The guillotine fell brutally and definitively. England have had a few difficult days over the years, but nothing like this record beating inflicted by France, "said The Guardian, praising the "remarkable" performance of the Blues.
“By the end of the match, even England's worst day at Twickenham, the 42-6 slap inflicted 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 would like to put it down to a poor performance, but [the limits] of England have been highlighted, concedes, for his part, the former England 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. “It 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 that way," said Matt Dawson.
The technician can count on the support of the Times, which believes that his predecessor Eddie Jones "left him very few good cards in 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 XV tricolor is the "new favorite" for the World Cup on his land, in the fall (September 8-October 28, 2023).
"Huge gap" with France and Ireland
The American media also feasted on the rout of the XV de la Rose: "The Crunch? The humiliation of England by France was The Crumble,” quips ESPN.
“A moment of sheer pathos – rain falling on Twickenham, England receiving a painful lesson from a side that are 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).
“Who knows what [she] will do from now on?, asks The Independent. The literal answer is that you have to go to Dublin to face the unstoppable force of the world's number one team, in seven days, but much bigger philosophical questions arise and it's hard to believe [that the team a] the answers. »
And The Sun to soberly wish the XV of the Rose: "Good luck ["good luck"]. »