England clinched the 2020 Six Nations title on points difference after Ireland failed to beat France with a bonus point or by a six-point margin on a dramatic deciding day.
Eddie Jones’ side piled pressure on Ireland by beating Italy 34-5 and picking up a bonus point thanks to their five tries.
The result meant Ireland needed to win by a margin of at least six points or having scored four tries at Stade de France, while their hosts also had an outside chance of winning the tournament.
Prop Cian Healy crossed for Ireland in the first half but France went into the interval with a 17-13 advantage thanks to scrum-half Antoine Dupont’s try and a penalty try.
The hosts started the second half the brighter of the teams and fly-half Romain Ntamack added to his good work from the kicking tee with a try.
Ireland regained their composure and Robbie Henshaw’s try reignited a flicker of hope, but that was quickly extinguished by Virimi Vakatawa late score.
Jacob Stockdale scored Ireland’s third try of the evening in the closing seconds but it ended 35-27 to France in Paris – with neither side having done enough to prise the Six Nations trophy from England’s hands.
Earlier on Saturday, England cruised to victory at Stadio Olimpico and the day belonged to Ben Youngs, who was making his 100th appearance for his country.
The scrum-half scored a try either side of the interval, helping to kick England into action after they were frustrated in the first half.
Hooker Jamie George scored the visitors’ third try of the afternoon before Tom Curry crossed to ensure England picked up a vital bonus point.
Henry Slade capped the performance with a try of his own, while Owen Farrell converted three times and added a further three points from the tee.
England had won all 26 of their previous matches with Italy but their performance in Rome was not as professional as expected.
They went into half-time with the score 10-5 as Jake Polledri halved the deficit for Italy following Kyle Sinckler’s error.
Meanwhile, Jonny Hill had been sent to the sin bin for catching Edoardo Padovani on the head with his arm.
But the tireless performance of Youngs helped England find their feet after the break.
After the match he said:”We always thought it was going to be a grinding down process.
“We got a bit out-enthused in the first half, we camped on our own line for a long time.
“We couldn’t quite get out and maybe with that yellow card [for Hill], we couldn’t shake that off.
“But whatever it may be, we knew that if we stuck to it we’d get there in the end and that was the most important thing that we did.”