Saturday, February 4th, England v France, Twickenham, London, 4:50pm kick-off (Live on ITV, 4:10pm)
Eddie Jones has selected Elliot Daly on the wing for England’s Six Nations opener
Baptiste Serin has got the nod over Maxime Machenaud for Les Bleus
ENGLAND face France at Twickenham in their Six Nations opener on Saturday (4:50pm) – so here’s everything you need to know about the game.
England Team News
Eddie Jones has named a new-look England starting XV to face France in Saturday’s Six Nations opener at Twickenham.
There are five changes to the starting XV that defeated Australia at the end of last year to complete an unbeaten 2016.
Elliot Daly (Wasps) starts on the left wing with Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby) installed on the right. In the scrum Joe Marler (Harlequins) packs down at loose-head, Joe Launchbury (Wasps) is named in the second-row and Maro Itoje (Saracens) starts at blindside flanker making up a match-day XV totalling 595 caps.
“We’ve been able to select a very strong and experienced team to play against France and we are excited to get the tournament underway,” said England head coach Eddie Jones.
BREAKING | Your England team to play France in the RBS 6 Nations this Saturday…
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 2, 2017
“There’s a great rivalry between the countries so we’re looking forward to a great occasion playing against one of England’s oldest foes.
England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Jonny May, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Teimana Harrison, 20 James Haskell, 21 Danny Care, 22 Ben Te’o, 23 Jack Nowell
France Team News
Meanwhile, Baptiste Serin has got the nod over Maxime Machenaud at scrum-half and joins Clermont playmaker Camille Lopez in the half-backs.
With Wesley Fofana ruled out due to injury, the midfield for le Crunch will see Rémi Lamerat and Gaël Fickou link up while lethal wings Virimi Vakatawa, Noa Nakaitaci and full-back Scott Spedding complete the backline.
Up front Cyril Baille and Uini Atonio pack down either side of Guilhem Guirado, with Sébastien Vahaamahina and Yoann Maestri at lock.
Damien Chouly and Kévin Gourdon are named as flanks while Northampton Saints number eight Louis Picamoles also starts the fixture.
France: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Noa Nakaitaci, 13 Gaël Fickou, 12 Rémi Lamerat, 11 Virimi Vakatawa, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kévin Gourdon, 6 Damien Chouly, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Cyril Baille
Replacements: 16 Clément Maynadier, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Arthur Iturria, 20 Loann Goujon, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Yoann Huget, 23 Jean-Marc Doussain
England v France Key Battle
England v France head-to-head
Played 102, England 56, Australia 39, draw 7
England v France Stats and Facts
England have won their last fourteen test matches since Australia beat them during the Rugby World Cup 2015, equalling their best ever run set in 2002-2003
England have not lost at Twickenham in the RBS 6 Nations since Wales were the visitors in round 3, 2012, a run off eleven successive victories, another win would equal their best ever home sequence in the history of the Championship set between 1911-1921
England have lost a round 1 RBS 6 Nations encounter just once in the last eight seasons, to France in Paris in 2014
France have won only two of their last eight test matches, in Argentina in June and against Samoa in Toulouse in November
The Frenchmen have won only once away from home in the RBS 6 Nations since 2014: 29-0 against Italy in Rome in round 4, 2015
France have lost only once in round 1 since 2009, to Italy in Rome in 2013
England have lost only one of their last four encounters with the French: 20-25 in a World Cup warm-up game in Paris in 2015.
France have beaten England just once at Twickenham in the Championship since 1997, and that was by a single point in 2005.