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France beat England to claim grand slam

France beat a reborn England 12-10 in Paris last night to claim their first Six Nations grand slam since 2004.

Despite losing the match England finally delivered an exciting performance and would have won the game but for their failure to finish a number of clear cut try scoring chances.

France looked nervous and tentative throughout but three first half penalties and a drop-goal from out-half Francois Trinh-Duc were enough to secure the win and see Marc Lievremont’s team crowned as grand slam champions.

Martin Johnson made a number of changes to England’s starting XV and the decision paid off with Toby Flood, Ben Foden and debutant Chris Ashton providing the backline with a cutting edge.

Ashton and Foden made an instant impression with the Northampton fullback finishing off a brilliant attacking move on six minutes.

However, while France’s backs looked tentative their forwards asserted their dominance at the set piece with Thomas Domingo giving Dan Cole a torrid time in the scrum.

England outplayed France for most of the second half but were unable to turn their dominance into points. Chris Ashton spurned an excellent chance to score a try kicking ahead when England had a two on one overlap.

A late cameo from Jonny Wilkinson saw England move within two points of France when the veteran out-half slotted a penalty from the right hand touchline but the home side stuffed the ball up their jumpers and closed out the game to claim the win and the grand slam.

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