(Reuters) – England must ignore the kind of pre-match comments that made them look “stupid” after a 24-17 defeat by France in their Six Nations opener on Sunday, former coach Clive Woodward said.

A lacklustre England lacked impact on the gain line and made several handling errors in their first test since being beaten 32-12 by South Africa in the World Cup final in November.

“The time for talking is now over, England must respond to this through their actions,” Woodward, who led England to World Cup glory in 2003, wrote in a column for the Daily Mail.

“And stop this media hype which is nonsense and making them all look rather stupid … England arrived with the wrong team and clearly haven’t yet shaken off that depressing World Cup final result.

“Given all that, I was surprised at the confidence pundits were showing in an England victory. It also demonstrated again the futility of all the pre-match talk of brutality and physicality and teaching France a few lessons.”

England visit Scotland for their second match on Saturday.

“As for becoming the best team ever and all that hyperbole, England should concentrate on becoming the best team for the next 80 minutes… then the next. That’s what true champion teams do — they never get ahead of themselves,” he added.

“Saturday’s trip to Murrayfield will be just as tough as this game and again, I make Scotland firm favourites.”

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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