The England Team Eddie Jones Should Pick To Face France On Saturday

Stephen Lewis

Stephen Lewis

Stephen is a rugby fan currently studying at Oxford Brookes University. A passionate England Supporter, Stephen is keen to discuss all things rugby. You can follow him on Twitter at @sclewis09
Stephen Lewis

Le Crunch.

The Six Nations returns this weekend and the tournament has really gripped rugby fans around the world so far.

Ireland are the firm favourites to reclaim the championship for the first time since 2015, but England and Scotland are still well within the race. Ireland play Scotland in match that could seal the championship for Ireland, whilst England travel to Paris to face France. The final game of the weekend sees Wales take on Italy at the Principality Stadium.

We’ve already covered the team that Joe Schmidt should pick to face Scotland, so now let us cast our eyes to ‘Le Crunch’. Eddie Jones has already hinted that he may shuffle the team around, and changes will also be enforced by the news that Sam Underhill and Jack Nowell have been released from the squad with injuries.

With that in mind, here is the team we think should line up against France on Saturday.

Forwards

Mako Vunipola continues to impress, and therefore gets the start at Loosehead prop ahead of Joe Marler. With Dylan Hartley an injury concern, perhaps it would be best to not risk the England captain with Ireland looming large on the horizon on March 17th. In this case, Jamie George will start in a more winnable fixture this weekend. At tighthead, the scrummaging ability of Dan Cole sees him edge out Harry Williams for the number 3 jersey. In the engine room, Maro Itoje and Joe Launchbury should continue their second-row partnership having looked solid in the opening three fixtures, with the latter in particular standing out for his performances. The back-row is where things get more interesting. England were dominated at the breakdown against Scotland, and they will have a tough time containing the likes of Yacouba Camara. With a mix of pace and breakdown skill needed, Chris Robshaw should move to six, and the returning Sam Simmonds can slot in at seven. Nathan Hughes provides the ball carrying option at eight, with Courtney Lawes and James Haskell able to provide power off bench.

Backs

Danny Care has been solid, if not spectacular, so far following Ben Young’s injury, and Richard Wigglesworth could provide a more controlling option at Scrum Half. However, the former’s tempo sees him just nick ahead. The 10-12-13 combination is where things could really be changed, and Jones has hinted at this. Heavy rain is forecast for Saturday, and the control of Owen Farrell at ten will be key for England in the territory battle at the Stade de France. Ben Te’o provides a ball carrier amongst the backs, and he could partner Jonathan Joseph in midfield with Joseph’s defensive qualities being highlighted by the England head coach throughout the tournament. The back three should remain unchanged, with Jonny Many, Anthony Watson, and Mike Brown all retaining their places to cope with France’s kicking game. George Ford and Elliot Daly provide the spark off the bench that England have appeared to lack in their previous games

Possible England team vs  France

  1. Mako Vunipola
  2. Jamie George
  3. Dan Cole
  4. Joe Launchbury
  5. Maro Itoje
  6. Chris Robshaw
  7. Sam Simmonds
  8. Nathan Hughes
  9. Danny Care
  10. Owen Farrell
  11. Jonny May
  12. Ben Te’o
  13. Jonathan Joseph
  14. Anthony Watson
  15. Mike Brown

Replacements:

  1. Luke Cowan-Dickie
  2. Joe Marler
  3. Harry Williams
  4. Courtney Lawes
  5. James Haskell
  6. Richard Wigglesworth
  7. George Ford
  8. Elliot Daly