By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) - England's kicking game helped them thrash a sorry France 44-8 in the Six Nations on Sunday and coach Eddie Jones believes that strategy defines modern rugby.

"We just think that’s the way the game is going. If teams defend as they do now, there’s space in the back field," said Jones.

"We have to get defenders back there and the only way we do that is to put the ball in that space.

"If they don’t fill it we’ve got an opportunity with our pace to convert that into points and we’ve been able to do that."

England scored six tries and were already 30-8 up at halftime as only Damian Penaud touched down for Les Bleus.

"It is just the brand of rugby we are trying to play, we want to put teams under pressure," said winger Jonny May, who scored three tries.

"I am just doing my job. I know that is scoring tries but equally important is everyone else’s roles. Everyone is working hard and putting performances together."

It was a remarkable turnaround in just one year for England, who were beaten 22-16 at the Stade de France last year.

“We have just worked incredibly hard over the last 12 months and it pays off in the end,” said May.

France failed to score in the second half as the hosts stayed disciplined and avoided being complacent.

"You get points in front and the natural tendency is to get seduced by the scoreboard," said Jones.

"The game becomes a little bit loose. You start doing things you normally wouldn’t do. But we kept our discipline really well."

France had nothing to show for themselves one week after throwing away a 16-0 halftime lead against Wales in a 24-19 opening defeat.

"England were much stronger than us, they put us under pressure an we could not deal with it," coach Jacques Brunel admitted.

Lock Arthur Iturria struggled to be optimistic two weeks before France's next game, at home against Scotland.

"We got spanked," he said.

"They were stronger. We have to work hard to get to that level. We will stick together. Scotland will come to beat us, like everybody does now."

(Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)