February 3, 2017
England vs. France: 6 Nations Preview
The much awaited RBC 6 Nations Rugby Championships begins on February 4, as Scotland hosts Ireland at BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland at 14::25pm GMT. The other 6 Nations matches will have England facing France at Twickenham in London at 16:50 GMT and on Sunday February 5, Italy will play Wales at 14:00 GMT.
England v. France
Eddie Jones has England firing on all cylinders during the 2016 season, as the team went 13 for 13 in test matches.
There are five changes to the starting XV that defeated Australia at the end of last year to complete an unbeaten 2016. The wings have changed with Elliot Daly from the Wasps and Jonny May from Gloucester taking the position. In the forwards Joe Marler from the Harlequins in back from an injury at loosehead prop, Joe Launchbury from the Wasps is at Lock and Maro Itoje from the Saracens at blindside flanker.
Eddie Jones in an England Rugby release about the squad said that “In rugby terms you’ve traditionally got two contrasting styles – French flair and England’s dogged conservative approach, but we want to be absolutely daring against the French in this first game and set the standard for the tournament,” added Jones.
“Guy Noves likes a big team. He picks a traditional French forward pack with squat front-rowers who scrummage well, big locks who give a lot of ballast and athletic back-rowers. It’s based on size and crunching that gain line, getting an off-load and then playing with flair. Of course this gives you an opportunity when you’ve got a big forward pack against you and we intend to exploit that.
“We want to get better all of the time, we are ambitious and we want to be the number one team in the world.”
France, despite its poor road record at the 6 Nations will look to take advantage of England’s injuries and youth. It still will be a formidable task.
England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Jonny May, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Teimana Harrison, 20 James Haskell, 21 Danny Care, 22 Ben Te’o, 23 Jack Nowell
France: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Noa Nakaitaci, 13 Gaël Fickou, 12 Rémi Lamerat, 11 Virimi Vakatawa, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kévin Gourdon, 6 Damien Chouly, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Cyril Baille
Replacements: 16 Clément Maynadier, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Arthur Iturria, 20 Loann Goujon, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Yoann Huget, 23 Jean-Marc Doussain