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England return to form as France humbled

  • Story Highlights
  • England return to top form with a thumping 34-10 Six Nations win over France
  • France never recover after England score four tries in a superb first-half display
  • The win, England's biggest over France in six years, puts them third in table
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(CNN) -- England romped to their most emphatic win over France since 2003, as Martin Johnson's under-fire side enjoyed a staggering return to form with a 34-10 Six Nations victory at Twickenham on Sunday.

Delon Armitage crosses the line for England as they overwhelmed France 34-10 at Twickenham.

Delon Armitage crosses the line for England as they overwhelmed France 34-10 at Twickenham.

With France still holding an outside chance of snatching the Six Nations title this year, the pressure was on England to get a result after five defeats in their last seven Tests.

And, they responded in magnificent style, powering into a 29-0 half-time lead courtesy of tries from Mark Cueto, Riki Flutey, Delon Armitage and Joe Worsely.

Flutey added a second shortly after the restart and although France managed two consolation tries through Dimitri Szarzewski and Julien Malzieu the match had long been won by England.

The scene was set in the opening minute when Flutey broke through before passing the ball to Cueto, who touched down with just 70 seconds on the clock.

Toby Flood converted the try and the same player kicked England into a 10-0 advantage with a penalty before a slick attacking move sent Flutey over for a second try -- which was also converted.

England hammered home their advantage with two tries in the last three minutes of the half. After Sebastien Chabal had been stripped of possession by Flutey, England piled forward. Simon Shaw's charge was halted short of the line but Armitage was on hand to provide the finishing touch.

England were now attacking in waves and Flood came within inches of the line before slipping, but the ball was shipped wide for Worsley to secure England a remarkable 29-0 lead at the interval.

Half-time did nothing to dilute England's dominance or halt their momentum and when Yannick Jauzion spilled the ball after a brilliant tackle from Harry Ellis, Armitage raced clear on the counter-attack and Flutey was on hand to finish a sparkling 75-meter try.

France eventually got on the scoreboard with hooker Szarzewski tunnelling over and the visitors later added a second when winger Malzieu was able to saunter over for a simple try.

The result means England leapfrog France into third place in the Six Nations table -- with both teams having won two and lost two matches going into next weekend's final round of fixtures.

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