France v England - story of the match

Peter O'Mahony

After 41 phases and with the clock red, Johnny Sexton knocked over a mammoth drop goal, a moment that will prove all the more enduring should Ireland clinch a Slam to go along with their title this weekend.

Should England do all of this, they would still need to turn around a points difference of 44 points over the course of their two games.

England host Ireland next week at Twickenham, where Joe Schmidt's team will play for the Grand Slam.

"If the game loves us then we might have won against France, but we didn't get bounce of ball, we didn't get the 50/50 decisions and we are in the losers' chair and it is not a very happy place".

If you go through the replay footage of the game you can see how many times England get this wrong, how many times players are too late to identify the role they should be playing in or around the breakdown; how many times individual players are left to try to do nearly impossible clearing jobs in isolation.

The game is changing a little bit and we have probably been slow to adapt to it.

"We'll have to look how we can be more clinical", stand-in captain Farrell said.

But a 68th-minute lineout drive provided the platform for replacement hooker Sean Cronin to scramble over for the clinching bonus point score, as Schmidt's side set a new Irish record of 11 Test wins in-a-row, beating the previous best run from 2002-2003.

The 45-year-old also pointed to Ireland's last-gasp win over France last month to reiterate that England's attackers failed to make the most of their chances unlike their Irish counterparts.

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"We needed to be good at the breakdown, and maybe they were not used to be bothered in that area", Brunel said.

"If you don't have power, it's very hard to get momentum".

It was this welcome in Westmeath nearly three decades ago that drew Schmidt from Clermont to Ireland in 2010, when the offer of the Leinster head coach job came up.

"I don't think this spell was inevitable, but I think it's normal".

"We didn't learn quick enough, I'm not 100 per cent sure why". If you think this is abnormal, I think that thinking is abnormal.

"We are three or four years behind Ireland in terms of what they've done and achieved over the last few years", Scotland coach Gregor Townsend said.

IRELAND: R Kearney; K Earls, G Ringrose, B Aki, J Stockdale; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Best, T Furlong, James Ryan, D Toner, P O'Mahony, D Leavy, CJ Stander.

Scotland: Hogg 7; Kinghorn 7 (L Jones 29-36, 6), H Jones 6, Horne 6 (Grigg 72, 6), Maitland 6, Russell 7, Laidlaw 6 (Price 67, 6); Reid 5 (Bhatti 54, 6), McInally 7, Berghan 6 (Nel 54, 6); Gilchrist 6, Gray 8 (Swinson 71, 6); Barclay 7, Watson 8, Wilson 6 (Denton, 17, 6).

"I know there's a lot of hype around it, and there will be more, there'll be a lot o distraction that you'll have to deal with and put to the side, and we're good at focusing on what we need to do, and what we need to get better at from last week".

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