France coach Bernard Laporte has joined the chorus of voices affirming RBS 6 Nations champions England as world rugby's leading force.
Laporte was extravagant in his praise of England's crushing 42-6 win over Ireland in Dublin to claim the crown as champions of Europe.
"Their Grand Slam is definitely deserved, there is nothing (else) to say," he told French newspaper L'Equipe.
"They have always been favourites, even before their Grand Slam, and even if they had not won in Ireland they would have remained great favourites.
"England have the best defence in the world and when they get their hands on the ball they display a game of superb quality."
Laporte made no attempt to conceal his admiration of England, who an opened the RBS 6 Nations championship with a 25-17 win over Les Bleus at Twickenham to dash French hopes of back-to-back titles.
Laporte added that he had been greatly impressed by England's consistency.
"The English have always been faithful to themselves," he said.
"They rely on a great defence and are tremendously efficient in every area of the game.
"And of course they have an exceptional number 10 in (Jonny) Wilkinson, who for me is the best fly-half in the world alongside Australia's (Stephen) Larkham.
"Without doing too much, Wilkinson kept England ahead. That is simply great class."