RBS 6 Nations 2011: England v France Preview

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The match that rugby union fans around the World have been looking forward to since the RBS 6 Nations 2011 tournament began takes place on the evening of Saturday 26th February 2011, when England take on France in Twickenham Stadium.

Both sides go into the match having recorded two wins from two, meaning that this encounter may reveal not only who is the odds-on favourite to lift the trophy, but is also a potential Grand Slam decider.

Starting Line-ups

England Starting XV

  • 15 Ben Foden
  • 14 Chris Ashton
  • 13 Mike Tindall (Capt)
  • 12 Shontayne Hape
  • 11 Mark Cueto
  • 10 Toby Flood
  • 9 Ben Youngs
  • 1 Andrew Sheridan
  • 2 Dylan Hartley
  • 3 Dan Cole
  • 4 Louis Deacon
  • 5 Tom Palmer
  • 6 Tom Wood
  • 7 James Haskell
  • 8 Nick Easter

England Replacements

  • 16 Steve Thompson
  • 17 Alex Corbisiero
  • 18 Simon Shaw
  • 19 Hendre Fourie
  • 20 Danny Care
  • 21 Jonny Wilkinson
  • 22 Matt Banahan

France Starting XV

  • 15 Maxime Medard
  • 14 Yoann Huget
  • 13 Aurelien Rougerie
  • 12 Yannick Jauzion
  • 11 Vincent Clerc
  • 10 Francois Trinh-Duc
  • 9   Dimitri Yachvili
  • 1 Thomas Domingo
  • 2 William Servat
  • 3 Nicolas Mas
  • 4 Julien Pierre
  • 5 Lionel Nallet
  • 6 Thierry Dusautoir (Capt)
  • 7 Imanol Harinordoquy
  • 8 Sebastien Chabal

France Replacements

  • 16 Guilhem Guirado
  • 17 Sylvain Marconnet
  • 18 Jerome Thion
  • 19 Julien Bonnaire
  • 20 Morgan Parra
  • 21 Damien Traille
  • 22 Clement Poitrenaud

Match Officials

  • Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
  • Assistant Referee: Alan Lewis (Wales)
  • Assistant Referee: Tim Hayes (Wales)
  • TMO: Giulio De Santos (Italy)

England v France RBS 6 Nations 2011 – Match Prediction

It is easy to see why both England and France are favourite and second favourite to lift this trophy respectively, when you look at the 22 man squads each side boasts.

England and France both have experience packed into their replacements, though England have perhaps got the edge with their younger, starting XV, in particular, Toby Flood’s improvement over the past 18 months has been remarkable, while Chris Ashton, on the England wing, has developed into one of the best finishers in World Rugby.

Frnace have not, it is felt, developed quite so much since they defeated England 12-10 at the Stade de France in their season of 6 Nations glory, in 2010. With home advantage, England should win this match by 7-10 points.

However, there is no such word as should in rugby. What matters, is what happens on the pitch over 80 minutes, and France have opted to go for the brute force and will of Chabal, so often a talisman against England, at number eight, to try to force something to happen today.

Discipline will be key today, and any yellow cards could easily turn this match. Penalties may also be decisive if these two strong defences cancel each other out as they did last year. Morgan Parra, France’s best kicker, starts on the bench, with Dimitri Yachvili preferred in the nine shirt for his ball playing ability. Jonny Wilkinson, who plays his club rugby in France, is on England’s bench, a good kicking replacement to Flood’s metronomic exactitude.

France showed against Ireland that they have tremendous defensive discipline, and rarely give away penalties in their own territory, which means England will have to go around -or through – France with the ball in hand. The difficulty for France, however, is that England, through Flood, Ashton and Foden, have the ability to do just that.

England, full of confidence, and roared on by home support, are favourites to win this game with a little in hand.

If France are to get anything from this match, they must defend better than they did against Scotland and Ireland, and they must hope to keep the scoreboard ticking as England are wont to infringe at the breakdown from time to time. However, the up-front battle will be made all the more difficult by the returning might of Andrew Sheridan at prop for England.

The margin in this match is never huge, however, with so much so often at stake: rugby fans are set to enjoy another epic encounter between these two great Northern Hemisphere giants of the sport.

Your England v France Predictions

Right up until the kick-off time, you’ll be able to cast your vote below – who do you think will win England v France this evening at Twickenham? Be sure to leave a comment at the foot of the England v France poll page with your reasoning, too.

[poll id=”12″]

England v France – Match Details

England v France will kick-off at 17:00 GMT (18:00 CET) on Saturday 26th February 2011, at Twickenham Stadium, London, England.

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In This Story: France

France is a republic and the largest Western European nation. Through expansion and colonisation in the 17th and 18th centuries France became a great power and still retains territories around the world. It has a seat on the UN security council and is the world’s fourth most wealthy country with a high standard of living and strong cultural identity.

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