LONDON (Reuters) - Eddie Jones praised not only his kicking crew but also his ever-eager chasers as England delivered a tactical masterclass with the boot on Sunday to destroy France 44-8 at Twickenham.
England scored six tries, five of them the result of kicks that France failed to deal with. Jonny May claimed a hat-trick inside the first 30 minutes, while Henry Slade, Owen Farrell and a penalty try completed the demolition job.
Ireland paid a heavy price against England last week for playing an inexperienced fullback and France fell into the same trap. They not only started with a non-specialist, Yoann Huget, at 15 but with two converted centres Damian Penaud and Gael Fickou on the wings.
If ever there was an invitation to kick, that was it, and things continued the same way in the second half after the introduction of Thomas Ramos.
Farrell, relentlessly, but also Slade, May, Elliot Daly, Ben Youngs and even Chris Ashton continually forced France to turn and scramble while under constant pressure and the visitors had no answers.
“Owen has a great sense of the game, we have a lot of good kickers, but you kick is only as good as your chase and our chase was outstanding today,” Jones said.
“At the moment we are having a great deal of success with our kicking and if you chase well it’s difficult to counter. If teams defend as they do now, there’s space in the back field.
“But I’m sure teams will start defending differently against us which will create space in different areas.”
Despite roaring into 30-8 halftime lead, Jones said he was most pleased by England’s second-half display when they did not let the intensity drop.
“When you’ve got a bonus point after 30 minutes, you’ve done pretty well but I thought our second half performance was even better,” he said.
“Our focus and discipline to keep France scoreless was outstanding. We had a quick chat after the game and we felt we left 15 or 20 points on the field today so there is a lot more in this team.”
May’s hat-trick, started by a score after 67 seconds, took his hot streak to a remarkable 12 tries in 12 games over the last 12 months.
“He has worked incredibly hard to improve every aspect of his game,” said Jones.
May said it had been a special day to remember. “To score a try for your country is awesome and especially at Twickenham so I am very grateful and very lucky,” he said.
“We want to put teams under pressure and I am just doing my job.
“The challenge was trying to raise the bar after a really good team performance last week. We came out and definitely played some good rugby at times.”
Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Christian Radnedge and Pritha Sarkar