Richard Wigglesworth has earned a glowing report from England boss Brian Ashton after passing the toughest examination of his rugby career with flying colours.
The Sale Sharks scrum-half delivered exactly what Ashton wanted - a high-tempo game behind a dominant pack - as England revived their RBS 6 Nations title hopes by beating France in Paris.
It was England’s first Six Nations success at Stade de France for eight years, and the 24-13 triumph represented a biggest win in Paris against Les Bleus since 1992.
Wigglesworth, preferred to the considerably more experienced World Cup winner Andy Gomarsall at number nine, completed England’s impressive demolition job by inflicting the final knockout blow.
His injury-time try, scored following sustained pressure by the forwards, put the gloss on arguably England’s most convincing display since Ashton took charge 14 months ago.
Wigglesworth said: “To win away in France and get my name on the scoresheet, I am thrilled.
“I’m going to get a bit of stick for my celebration when I get back to Sale.
“I don’t get many tries, but I do like the old ball-toss - it’s my favourite celebration. It was a great occasion, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Ashton added: “I thought Richard did really well.
“What a way to end the game by scoring the try that took us out of sight.
“He must be delighted with that, and I am really pleased with the way he performed in what was quite a hostile environment for a first international start.
“The players were under no illusions that we had to put in a performance.
“We had played two half-games (against Wales and Italy), and we needed to put in an 80-minute performance. Apart from one or two lapses in certain areas, I think they will be quite pleased with what they did.”
England will regroup next weekend ahead of tackling Scotland at Murrayfield on March 8.
Flanker James Haskell suffered an ankle injury that forced him off after 23 minutes in Paris, but early indications suggest he could be fit for Edinburgh.