France v England – Six Nations 10/03/2018

The Six Nations is now in Ireland’s hands as England’s grip loosened on the title as they fell short at Murrayfield to a very impressive Scotland outfit. France, meanwhile, posted their first win of the tournament, scoring three tries during the victory over Italy in Marseille, which does present the question that if it wasn’t for a last-minute drop goal against the Irish, could they have been coming into this game with a sniff for the title?

Eddie Jones’ men in the build-up have been subjected to an onslaught by the media that has resulted in some drastic changes; Jamie George in for the injured captain Dylan Hartley, Ben Teo replaces Jonathan Joseph at outside-centre, Mike Brown drops to the bench for the first time under the Australian coach, moving Anthony Watsonto full-back with Elliot Daly coming in on the wing to give the back-three a very attacking look.

Jacques Brunel has opted to start Francois Trinh-Duc at fly-half in the only change to the side which started their last game. It is a show of faith and discipline from the coach as Teddy Thomas and Athur Iturria remain absent for their off-field shenanigans. Interestingly, Les Blues have made the most turnovers in the tournament thus far and will hope to replicate what the Scots did in the last round at the breakdown.

Le Crunch has produced some exceptional rugby in the modern era, the Red Roses winning nine of the 11 meetings since 2007, however, at the Stade de France the hosts have won six of the nine matches since 2000. In fact, illustrating what a tough away trip it is, in the Six Nations era Les Blues have won 35 of their 47 games at home, never going down by more than 11 points across them.

There is little doubt this is a monumental task for England, as for all the teams in the Six Nations excluding visits to Rome, the travelling side has only won four of the 32 encounters since 2016, combined with France’s excellent home form. But we expect a reaction from the visitors who are renowned for their relentless winning mentality and belief in tight games and since 2013 have won five of their eight games on the road, with all these wins by less than 11 points when excluding the Azzurri. Therefore, the best bet would be to back England to win by no more than 12 points in what will be a wet and heavy ‘slogathon’ in Paris.

England Win by 1-12 Points at 2.62, Sky Bet

News Reporter

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