Steve Borthwick and Ellis Genge reflect on England’s demolition by France
Steve Borthwick admitted England rugby were brutally exposed by a record 53-10 defeat by France rugby that revealed the gulf between the rivals.
England collapsed to their heaviest loss at Twickenham of all time after leaking seven tries, enabling Les Bleus to record a first Six Nations win at the venue since 2005.
France, positioned second in the global rankings and the current grand slam champions, were responsible for one of the darkest days in English rugby history and Borthwick admitted the performance was not good enough.
“We’re incredibly disappointed. Immense credit to France – their power, pace and class showed. It shows where the gap is,” Borthwick said.
“No one is under any illusions about what we need to do. We’ve been pretty up front about that throughout.
“We wanted to understand exactly how the development of this team has gone and where we’re at compared to the best teams in the world. We fell considerably short, that’s the reality.
“The key element is that we know where we are. It shows just how much work we have to do. France showed just how much better they are than us.
I said we’d have a good understanding of where we’re at as a team by the end of the Championship and you can see how much work we’ve got to do
“I said we’d have a good understanding of where we’re at as a team by the end of the championship and you can see how much work we’ve got to do.
“France were able to dominate the tackle area and offload. While we understood that was a major threat we weren’t able to stop it.”
Having been thrashed out of sight by France in their third heaviest defeat of all time, England must now pick themselves up off the floor before taking on Six Nations pacesetters Ireland in Dublin.
“I’m pretty disappointed and we have a lot of work to do and it shows where we are at,” captain Ellis Genge said.
“We lost the contact area and chased tails and everyone will write us off and that’s brilliant – we just want to get better.
“France are brilliant and have shown why they are number two in the world and we are way off where we want to be.
“We probably need to be a lot better in the contact area and that is down to the forwards and there were some harsh lessons.”
France boss Fabien Galthie was delighted by a victory that gives his side hope of retaining their title heading into the final round next weekend.
“I’ve been coming to Twickenham for a long while – 20 years. It’s emotional,” Galthie said.
“We played well, how we wanted to. We wanted to do that, we didn’t know how, but we wanted to do that.
“We’ve not been satisfied by our Six Nations. We wanted to do something here. The players wanted to put in a big game against England.”