Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- England defeated France 23-13 to remain the only unbeaten team in European rugby’s Six Nations Championship.
Manu Tuilagi scored a try and Owen Farrell and Toby Flood combined to kick six penalties at Twickenham Stadium in London today as England won its third straight game to stay in contention for the so-called Grand Slam sweep of five victories in the tournament.
“The boys worked hard out there, it was a tough game,” Tuilagi told the British Broadcasting Corp. “I’m just happy to get a win.”
England has six points and Wales, which beat Italy 26-9 earlier today, has four. Ireland and Scotland, who meet tomorrow in Edinburgh, have two points, as does Italy.
France, the bookmakers’ pre-tournament favorite for the title is in last place after its third straight loss.
Farrell gave England the early lead with a penalty in the opening minute, which was matched three minutes later by France’s Morgan Parra. After another Farrell penalty put England in front, Wesley Fofana shook off four tackles to touch down and give France a 10-6 lead.
Farrell booted another penalty to draw England within a point and Parra missed a long penalty with the final kick of the opening half. Parra pulled a penalty wide early in the second half and Farrell re-established England’s lead with his fourth penalty in the 49th minute.
Wales Routs Italy
England used a bit of luck to extend its advantage five minutes later. An England player kicked the ball forward at a ruck and it deflected off Mako Vunipola to Tuilagi, who ran in for the try. Farrell, however, missed the conversion to leave the score 17-10.
Frederick Michalak took over kicking duties from Parra for France and booted a penalty to cut the English lead to 17-13. Farrell then missed a penalty and was replaced by Toby Flood after pulling up injured moments later.
Flood then completed the scoring with a pair of penalties in the final six minutes as England stayed in the hunt for the Grand Slam.
In Rome, Jonathan Davies and Alex Cuthbert scored tries as Wales routed Italy for its second straight win. Leigh Halfpenny kicked four penalties and finished with 16 points for the Welsh, and Kristopher Burton booted three penalties for Italy
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