France stole a dramatic 26-24 victory against England in Paris, winning a pulsating Six Nations opening weekend clash with a late converted try to end a brave challenge from Stuart Lancaster's men.
In a seesaw encounter, France dominated the early exchanges, but a storming second-half comeback from England looked like it might earn the visitors the points and the perfect start to their campaign.
England got off to the worst possible start. Jules Plisson chipped forward and winger Yoann Huget went over for the score for France inside the first minute of the match.
Owen Farrell then kicked a penalty to bring the score back to 5-3, but Jean-Marc Doussain replied with a kick for France, and then Huget went over again midway through the first half.
This time, it was a kick from Jean-Marc Doussain that caused England problems, allowing Huget to collect his second try of the afternoon.
England needed something before the break, and they got it though fullback Mike Brown. After good work from Danny Care, Brown powered over for his first international try in the corner. That score gave England fresh impetus, and its affect was clear in the second-half effort that followed.
France simply couldn't handle England after the break. Farrell kicked an early penalty before Luther Burrell was sent clean through by replacement Mako Vunipola to score under the posts. Suddenly, England had the lead.
Danny Care's drop-goal increased the gap, with Alex Goode adding another penalty for England with seven minutes to play.
England looked poised for the win, but France kicked a penalty and scored a late try through Gael Fickou to set up a conversion under the posts. It sailed over, and with it went England's chances of a perfect Six Nations campaign.
No country for young men? England's fightback was inspired but they led 24-19 at 77 minutes. Need to win those. Bad start cost them.— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) February 1, 2014
Despite the loss, however, there was still much to cheer for the visitors.
Credit France for nerve in converting final chance. Credit Eng pack for monumental 2nd half. Closing out games the lesson for a young team.— Brian Moore (@brianmoore666) February 1, 2014
Feel for the England players. Great 2nd half effort. Just hope the anger & frustration comes out in their next games…… #6nations— Will Carling (@willcarling) February 1, 2014
Key details gleaned from Rugby365's live reporting.