Rugby: Last-gasp penalty propels France to Six Nations victory over England, second behind Ireland

Thomas Ramos has landed a last-minute penalty to give France a dramatic 33-31 victory over England in the Six Nations match and secure a second-place finish behind Ireland, who had earlier retained the title with victory over Scotland.

Ramos, who landed seven out of eight attempts at goal, split the posts from the halfway line, after England looked to have snatched victory through a Tommy Freeman try.

Ireland finished on 20 points, with France second on 15, ahead of England on 14 and Scotland on 12.

Thomas Ramos kicks a penalty against England.
Thomas Ramos kicks a penalty against England. Photo credit: Getty Images

France showed great intensity from the start and after an early penalty apiece, scored a classic try, when they stole an attacking England lineout. Gael Fickou swept forward and quick hands sent scrumhalf Nolann Le Garrec over.

Two Ramos penalties stretched the lead to 16-3, but England hit back just before halftime with a crisp lineout move that sent rampaging centre Ollie Lawrence over.

George Ford converted to close the gap to 16-10, but England's first-half struggles in this Six Nations continued, as they trailed in all five games.

That situation lasted only two minutes of the second half, as another surging run by Ben Earl set up Lawrence for his second try and Ford converted to put England 17-16 ahead.

Irrepressible Earl

The irrepressible Earl again blasted through to feed Marcus Smith for England's third try.

France regrouped and, amid chaotic English defending, closed to within a point with a Leo Barre try after 56 minutes.

An overthrown England lineout then left them horribly exposed, as Gael Fickou charged over under the posts to put France 30-24 ahead.

England had barely fired a shot for 30 minutes, but hit back with a great combination from Smith and Ford that sent Freeman over, and Ford landed the difficult conversion to claim a one-point lead.

A first win in Paris since 2016 looked on the cards, but France surged back and Earl was penalised for a no-arms tackle on the halfway line, which Ramos drilled through the posts to give his team the victory.

"I thought our attack was fantastic, I was very disappointed with our defence," said France defence coach Shaun Edwards.

"I thought the England attack was all over us - we should not have to score 30 points to win a game. We were missing tackles, we were not intense enough.

"It was probably the worst defensive performance since I've been here."

England captain Jamie George was devastated.

"It's reminiscent of the last time in France against South Africa," he said of last year's World Cup semi-final defeat.

"France showed their class, but we found a way back into the game. The way we came out at the start of the second half was impressive.

"When we play, when we put teams under pressure with the ball, we look a very dangerous team. The endeavour to go out there, have a crack and play with a smile on our faces, I thought the boys did that.

"I have loved the last seven weeks."