Steve Borthwick admitted England were brutally exposed by a record 53-10 defeat by France, revealing the rift between their rivals.
England collapsed to their heaviest defeat ever at Twickenham after losing seven tries, allowing Les Bleus to record a first Guinness Six Nations win at the venue since 2005.
France, second in the world and current Grand Slam champions, were responsible for one of the darkest days in English rugby history and Borthwick admitted the performance wasn’t good enough.
“We are incredibly disappointed. Great recognition for France – her power, pace and class showed. It shows where the gap is,” Borthwick said.
“Nobody has any illusions about what we have to do. We’ve been pretty open about that the whole time.
“We wanted to understand exactly how this team has developed and where we stand compared to the best teams in the world. We’ve clearly fallen behind, that’s the reality.
“The most important thing is that we know where we stand. It shows how much work we have to do. France showed how much better they are than us.
“I said that by the end of the Championship we have a good understanding of where we are as a team and you can see how much work we still have to do.
“France was able to dominate and offload the tackle area. While we understood that this was a major threat, we couldn’t stop it.”
After being beaten out of sight by France in their third-heaviest defeat ever, England must now pick themselves off the ground before taking on the pacesetters of the Six Nations in Dublin.
“I’m quite disappointed and we still have a lot to do and that shows where we are,” said captain Ellis Genge.
“We’ve lost contact area and been chasing tails and everyone is going to write us off and that’s great – we just want to get better.
“France are brilliant and have shown why they are world number two and we are far from where we want to be.
“We probably need to be a lot better in the contact area and that’s down to the strikers and there have been some tough lessons.”
France coach Fabien Galthie was delighted with a win that gives his side hope of defending their title in next weekend’s finals.
“I’ve been coming to Twickenham for a long time – 20 years. It’s emotional,” Galthie said.
“We played well, the way we wanted to. We wanted to do it, we didn’t know how, but we wanted to do it.
“We weren’t happy with our Six Nations. We wanted to make a difference here. The players wanted to play a great game against England.”