A revitalised France beat an uninspired England 22-16 on Saturday to claim a rare victory over their arch-rivals whose defeat handed the Six Nations title to Ireland.

Les Bleus, who had lost nine of their last 11 meetings against England in the Championship, prevailed through penalties by Maxime Machenaud (4) and Lionel Beauxis and a penalty try while their opponents scored two penalties and conversion by Owen Farrell, a penalty by Elliot Daly and a try by Jonny May.

Ireland top the table with 19 points from four games after securing a 28-8 bonus-point victory over Scotland earlier on Saturday, meaning they cannot be caught by England when the two teams meet at Twickenham next weekend.

France, who narrowly lost their first two matches against Ireland and Scotland, defended furiously throughout and it became obvious that England, who needed a bonus-point win to keep their title hopes alive, would not score the four tries they needed.

It was England's second defeat in a row after they lost to Scotland in the previous round of matches.


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