France's first Six Nations title for 12 years showed that Fabien Galthie's impressive team, who beat England in a party atmosphere at the Stade de France, will be hard to stop at the World Cup on home soil next year.

With Melvyn Jaminet prolific with the boot, the immense Cameron Woki fast becoming the fulcrum of the team and live-wire World Player of the Year Antoine Dupont wreaking havoc on the England defence, there was only going to be one winner on Saturday.

France were dominant in the opening 40 minutes with tries from the superb Gael Fickou and Francois Cros. England hit back in the second half thanks to Freddie Steward's converted try, but once Dupont burst through in the 61st minute the Grand Slam was secured and the fireworks could be launched from the stadium roof.

On this form, if the World Cup was starting tomorrow, France would be favourites.

France's players celebrate with the Six Nations trophy
France's players celebrate with the Six Nations trophy AFP / FRANCK FIFE

Once the Six Nations trophy had been lifted and his players serenaded for an hour by the 79,000 crowd, Galthie said: "This was an unforgettable experience which is going to make us grow. It brought so much joy to the coaching staff.

"Tonight was a bit different to other matches, there was a lot of tension. It was beautifully, marvellously tense."

Dupont said he could measure the progress of the team.

"It's our third Six Nations together. We came up just short in the first two. We realised how difficult it can be - each match is difficult, we were able to see that this year."

Gael Fickou (R) is a defensive lynchpin of France's side
Gael Fickou (R) is a defensive lynchpin of France's side AFP / FRANCK FIFE

All great teams are built on defence and English coach Shaun Edwards has instilled a discipline in that department that many previous French sides lacked.

The understated but impressively effective Gael Fickou is the defensive captain and from outside centre has overseen Edwards' approach to stifling opposing teams.

France's scrum-half Antoine Dupont, the World Player of the Year, is a constant menace to opponents
France's scrum-half Antoine Dupont, the World Player of the Year, is a constant menace to opponents AFP / FRANCK FIFE

That was supported by the statistics -- the French did not receive a single yellow card in five games and their average of nine penalties per match was extremely low.

England coach Eddie Jones, speaking on Sunday in the aftermath of his side's defeat, identified that defensive discipline as crucial.

"The big difference between France three years ago, France two years ago and France now is their tactical discipline," he said.

"They play a very disciplined game, play to their strengths, and play a long kicking game. They're very strong defensively around their 22.

"Two and three years ago they weren't able to stick to their game plan with the same discipline they do now."

Galthie has put enormous faith in his players, keeping a settled team with minimal changes. The only change to the starting XV that saw off Wales 13-9 in an attritional battle in Cardiff was Damien Penaud, who had recovered from coronavirus.

In contrast, Jones had pressed the reset button, calling up five players. It was little wonder that England looked disjointed at times.

France's general manager Raphael Ibanez had identified the side's first victory for 12 years against New Zealand last November as the moment he realised how much progress they had made.

He will know though that the All Blacks and reigning champions South Africa will be back with a vengeance at the World Cup next year.

Dupont, the captain, admitted the prospect loomed large.

"Of course this World Cup is in all of our minds. Plenty of people around us are talking about it and we talk a lot about it as well.

"We're going to enjoy this victory, this Grand Slam. We'll project forward after that."