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Machenaud stars as France beat England 22-16 in Six Nations Cup

French players celebrate after defeating England 22-16 in their Six Nations rugby match. RFI

France upset defending champions England 22-16 in Six Nations rugby in Paris on Saturday night. The result left Ireland, who earlier beat Scotland 28-8, the tournament champions, with the last round to be played next week.

Maxime Machenaud was the star performer for the hosts as he notched up 12 points by converting four penalties.

However, it was England that opened the scoring through Owen Farrell with a 38-metre penalty in the third minute. Elliot Daly extended England’s lead to six points by scoring a monster 52-metre penalty in the 20th minute.

Machenaud got France on the scoreboard with a 25th minute penalty, before scoring two more in the first half.

French players celebrate after defeating England in their Six Nations rugby match in Paris on Saturday. RFI

Farrell scored his second penalty to level the score at the end of the first half.

The second half saw France surge ahead with a penalty try in the 48th minute and another penalty by Machenaud in the 62nd minute.

England reduced the deficit to three points with a try and conversion in the 74th minute. However, a penalty by Lionel Beauxis three minutes later sealed the match in France’s favour.

French coach Jacques Brunel hailed his side’s “remarkable defence”.

“France has gone through a tough time," he commented. "I believe we can come very close to the best. Against Ireland [lost 15-13 in the last minute], we were there, we lacked just a little bit at the end.”

Fran├žois Trinh-Duc in action against England on Saturday. RFI

“Against both Ireland and England, we've shown we can go up against them and we will continue to do so,” the 64-year-old said.

Ireland continued their unbeaten run in the tournament with a comprehensive 28-8 win over Scotland.

Jacob Stockdale scored two tries in the first half to make him the only Irishman to score six tries in a tournament.

Conor Murray and Sean Cronin scored a try each in the second half to help Ireland secure a third successive bonus-point win.

France put up a strong defence against England in their Six Nations match on Saturday. RFI