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Twickenham hosts 100th England v France clash for World Cup warm-up

| 15.08.2015

At an odds-on price of 2/9 with Coral, England are the favourites to beat rivals France in this warm-up match at Twickenham.

Of the 99 occasions England and France have battled against one another, the former have taken 54 wins to Les Bleus’ 38, tying in the seven other meetings. Neither team want to make it easy on the other.

Stuart Lancaster has faced tough decisions for the upcoming clash at home in Twickenham, but brought ahead his team announcement due to the long build-up to the game.

One of which was to play recent League code-switcher Sam Burgess. Although feeling confident in his role, Burgess has only been playing Union for 10 months and previously spent his time at Bath playing blindside flanker as opposed to inside centre. Odds of 3/1 are available for him to score a try anytime.

Rugby Union - World Cup Warm Up - England v France - England Training Session - Pennyhill Park

Henry Slade, who is priced the same to cross the tryline, is another player making his debut and will be paired alongside Burgess. However, former England captain, centre and 2003 World Cup winner Mike Tindall is worried the duo will be out of their usual positions and potentially lose out on a chance to get a place in the squad.

“If I was completely honest, I wouldn’t have Sam Burgess in the centre, I still prefer him at six. And I don’t think Slade is a natural 13 either and definitely not for this World Cup,” Tindall said.

Both Slade and Burgess have a lot of pressure riding on them for this tough match against France.

Calum Clark, anther debutant, will be taking position as openside flanker, and Ben Morgan will be back starting for the side, playing for the first time after seven months out due to a broken ankle.

Tom Wood, meanwhile, will be taking role as captain for the first time, with Chris Robshaw out injured, for this 100th match against France in ‘Le Crunch’.

France, however, may be in trouble before the match begins, breaking protocol in naming their side to take on the English after the 72 hour mark, much to Lancaster’s annoyance.

Visiting coach Philippe Saint-Andre has chosen to bring new blood into his team, with Remi Lamerat (5/1 to put points on the board) and centre Alexandre Dumoulin (14/1). Francois Trinh-Duc and half back Morgan Parra, meanwhile, have been given the opportunity to impress.

Dimitri Szarzewski will be skippering the side to win his 80th cap.

At 10/3, France are not favourites going into this game, but will still be determined, never letting England take the easy way.

England Squad: Alex Goode, Anthony Watson, Henry Slade, Sam Burgess, Jonny May, Owen Farrell, Richard Wigglesworth, Mako Vunipola, Rob Webber, Kieran Brookes, George Kruis, Geoff Parling, Tom Wood, Caum Clark, Ben Morgan.

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Alex Corbisiero, David Wilson, Dave Attwood, James Haskell, Danny Care, Danny Cipriani, Billy Twelvetrees.

France Squad: Scott Spedding, Sofiane Guitoune, Remi Lamerat, Alexandre Dumoulin, Brice Dulin, Francois Trinh-Duc, Morgan Parra, Vincent Debaty, Dimitri Szarzewski (C), Nicolas Mas, Alexandre Flanquart, Yoann Maestri, Yannick Nyanga, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Louis Picamoles.

Replacements: Guilhem Guirado, Xavier Chiocci, Uini Atonio, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Loann Goujon, Rrory Kockott, Remi Tales, Gael Fickou.

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Steph Mallinson