England and France clash again on road to Rugby World Cup
England have won on three of their last five visits to the Stade de France, so it’s no wonder Coral make Stuart Lancaster’s side odds-on 5/6 favourites to do the double over their cross-Channel Foes in their Rugby World Cup warm-up campaign.
Tight margins of victory have become customary in encounters between these two in Paris, with just a couple of points difference settling the last three tests held there. Couple that with the 19-14 Twickenham win for England last time out, and punters should definitely consider them to win by 1-5 points at a fabulous 4/1.
France, evens to avenge that loss and 9/2 to edge Lancaster’s men out by that slight margin again, have only won two of their six internationals this calendar year, and half of their four defeats have been handed to them by England.
Avid try scorer Anthony Watson will be sitting out on this latest Les Bleus encounter, but winger Jonny May, who scored England’s third last week, will be going back onto the pitch. At 7/4 to cross again anytime, magnificent May is also well worth a wager to go over first at a tasty 10/1.
England skipper Chris Robshaw will also be returning at open side, while uncapped hooker Jamie George will be starting on the bench and the Saracens man will be hoping for some strong playing time after last week’s set-piece weaknesses.
Lancaster hands a recall to full back Mike Brown, 11/4 to score a try, who hasn’t played since suffering a concussion in England’s Six Nations fixture against Ireland in February. Joe Launchbury also returns after almost a year out because of neck surgery.
Fly half Danny Cipriani remains among the replacements, and this looks like last chance saloon territory for his chances of making the Rugby World Cup.
France head coach Philippe Saint-Andre has also made some significant changes to his side. Pairing centres Wesley Fofana (2/1 for a try anytime) and Mathieu Bastareaud (4/1 in that market) together should make Les Bleus more solid.
Pascal Pape will be captaining the side, with Thierry Dusatoir out injured. Alongside them, Toulan players Sebastien Tilous-Borde and Freddie Michalak have been named as half-backs.
Such alterations are unlikely to make this match any less tight, so another narrow result in the St-Denis suburb should remain the trend of a tasty tackling and hard-fought affair.
England XV: Mike Brown, Jack Nowell, Jonathan Joseph, Luther Burrell, Jonny May, George Ford, Ben Youngs, Joe Marler, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, James Haskell, Chris Robshaw (C), Billy Vunipola
Replacements: Jamie George, Mako Vunipola, David Wilson, Dave Attwood, Nick Easter, Danny Care, Danny Cipriani, Billy Twelvetrees
France XV: Scott Spedding, Yoann Huget, Mathieu Bastareaud, Wesley Fofana, Noa Nakaitaci, Frederic Michalak, Sebastien Tillous-Borde, Eddy Ben Arous, Guilhem Guirado, Rabah Slimani, Pascal Pape (C), Yoann Maestri, Damien Chouly, Bernard Le Roux, Louis Picamoles
Replacements: Benjamin Kayser, Vincent Debaty, Uini Atonio, Alexandre Flanquart, Yannick Nyanga, Rory Kockott, Remi Tales, Gael Ficko