Rugby: England suffer record home defeat as ruthless France turn on Six Nations style

Rampant France ran in seven tries to overwhelm a ragged England 53-10, their biggest ever win over the English and first in the Six Nations at Twickenham for 18 years. The French also stayed in contention to win this year's title ahead of their final game against Wales, climbing to second in the standings behind Ireland.

Tries by fullback Thomas Ramos, lock Thibaud Flament and flanker Charles Ollivon gave the visitors a 27-3 halftime lead.

England first-five Marcus Smith, picked ahead of regular captain Owen Farrell, failed to get his team firing as the hosts made a slew of handling errors and gave away a succession of penalties to halt what little momentum they had in driving rain.

Fullback Freddie Steward powered over soon after the interval to give England faint hopes of a comeback but fatal indecision allowed Flament to pick up a loose ball and steam over for his second try in the 57th minute.

Ramos scythed through to set up the fifth French try, Smith scrambled back to retrieve the ball near the line but unable to stop Ollivon touching down.

Farrell was sent on to try to improve England's defence but they rarely threatened to reduce the deficit and it was France who struck again.

A fine kick by Gael Fickou set up Damian Penaud to stroll over the line and the winger quickly added his second try as the hosts crumbled.

With fans streaming out of the stadium, Smith made a searing break to set up the opportunity of a consolation score but England conceded another soft penalty and France were left to celebrate a statement win ahead of this year's World Cup which they are hosting.

Earlier, halfback Rhys Webb produced a superb individual display in his first start for six years to inspire Wales to a 29-17 bonus-point victory over error-strewn Italy in Rome.

The win eases the pressure on coach Warren Gatland as Wales seek to avoid their first Six Nations wooden spoon for 20 years.

Wales' Rhys Webb.
Wales' Rhys Webb. Photo credit: Getty Images

But for Italy it is a 25th successive home loss in the competition having come into the game with much hope of victory.

Webb set up tries for wing Rio Dyer and No.8 Taulupe Faletau, while there was also a solo effort from fullback Liam Williams and a penalty try as Wales move above Italy in the table.

The home side tried to attack with ball in hand at every opportunity and from all positions on the field, but 10 handling errors cost them points. Their two tries came from flanker Sebastian Negri and centre Juan Ignacio Brex.