England have overcome a poor first half to grind down France for a 19-16 victory to open the defence of their Six Nations title, setting a national record of 15 successive victories in the process.

England were lucky to be level at 9-9 at halftime and France would have been frustrated that their livelier showing failed to produce a try in the opening 40 minutes.

England were transformed after the break but, after edging ahead with another Owen Farrell penalty, a rare French foray produced the first try of the game for replacement prop Rabah Slimani after an hour.

England's replacements then poured on to bring a new energy, with one of them - centre Ben Te'o - scoring the decisive try which Farrell converted to restore the lead with 10 minutes to go.

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The current side had shared the record of 14 successive victories with Clive Woodward's team in 2002-03.