Hartley hails ‘finishers’ as England beat France despite Picamoles heroics

Louis Picamoles was outstanding for France (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Louis Picamoles was outstanding for France (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Dylan Hartley hailed England’s ‘finishers’ after they started the Six Nations with a nail-biting 19-16 win against France.

It took a late try from replacement centre Ben Te’o to ensure England would maintain their record of 14 wins in as many matches under Eddie Jones.

Saints hooker Hartley still possesses a 100 per cent record since being made Red Rose skipper by Jones in January, 2016.

And the captain was quick to salute his side’s super-subs, with the likes of James Haskell and Worcester Warriors player Te’o turning the tide after England had falled 16-12 behind.

“We’ve got a huge amount to work on, but we got through that one and a huge amount of credit needs to go to our finishers today,” Hartley said.

“Ben Te’o and James Haskell came on and gave us go-forward at the end there - it was unbelievable impact from our subs.

“There were big shifts from Maro (Itoje), Courtney (Lawes) and Dan Cole, playing 80 minutes there.

“We found a way to win and we’ll take something from that.

“Week one of the tournament, we will take that, but it’s pretty obvious that we’ve got stuff to work on.

“We need to be more clinical with the ball in hand and maybe not so passive in defence.”

Hartley played 54 minutes in his first game since December, while Tom Wood and Lawes both completed 80 minutes.

But the most impressive Saintsman on show was Louis Picamoles, who was simply sublime for France and even earned the man of the match prize, despite his team’s defeat.

“Out there it seemed quite a fast game,” Hartley said.

“They’ve got some dangerous wingers and they made quite a few yards out wide on us.

“There’s going to be so much to work on, it keeps us grounded and keeps us ready for the next game.

“We’re going to have to be a lot better against Wales.”

England face Wales in Cardiff next Saturday (February 11), with a kick-off time of 4.50pm.