Owen Farrell scored the decisive points as England came from behind to defeat an understrength France 22-19 in sudden death extra time and win the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup.
England captain Farrell missed four of his nine kicks at goal but was successful with a conversion after the 80th minute and a penalty in the second additional period as Eddie Jones’ side avoided a chastening Twickenham defeat.
Les Bleus were without 25 key players due to an agreement with Top 14 clubs limiting the amount of times they could select any player during the extended Test window, forcing them to turn to members of their Under-20 World Cup triumphs of 2018 and 2019.
Brice Dulin touched down in the first half and the successful kicking of Matthieu Jalibert and Louis Carbonel gave France a seven-point lead with four minutes remaining.
However, Farrell added the extras following Luke Cowan-Dickie’s late try and he made up for a miss two minutes into extra time to end the game after 96 enthralling minutes.
Your @autumnnations champions!
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) December 6, 2020
Farrell put England into an early lead after France’s front row collapsed in a scrum but he hooked his next effort from the tee to the left.
France stunned the hosts in the 19th minute when fly-half Jalibert darted between Jamie George and Farrell before teeing up Dulin to cross on the left wing.
Jalibert added the extras and, after Elliot Daly split the posts from 46 metres, he sent through a pair of penalties to put Les Bleus up by a converted try.
England went extremely close to getting that before half-time, but France’s defence held up impressively through 13 phases on the try line before Ellis Genge lost the ball forward.
The hosts upped the pressure following the restart and, after Farrell was successful with one of his next three penalty attempts, Carbonel added three points with a penalty.
Carbonel got another with the help of the upright but Farrell quickly replied and was then successful with the clock in the red after replacement Luke Cowan-Dickie span over from a driving maul.
Farrell had a chance to win the match in the second minute of extra time but his kick hit the right upright and bounced back across the face of the left post.
But after Maro Itoje won a penalty in the second additional period, Farrell made amends from wide on the left to secure the trophy for England.