France will host England at Stade De France in Paris on Saturday evening, a match counting for Round 4 of the 2018 Six Nations.
France made wholesale changes for this Six Nations campaign after a disastrous 2017, and Les Bleus have looked pretty good so far under new manager Jacques Brunel. France put on spirited performances against Ireland (lost by 2 at home) and Scotland (lost by 6 away), before claiming a routine 17 point win against Italy in the last round. While the team is definitely still not ready to compete on a consistent basis with the big boys, France does look to be on the up, at least in terms of energy and determination.
England hasn`t been convincing for some time now, mostly scraping wins in the last year or so, and that was valid in the beginning of the Six Nations as well. While England easily won their first match in Italy, they had a tough time beating Wales at home, only mustering a 12-6 victory. Eventually, the Three Lions were finally punished in the last round by Scotland, losing 13-25 in Edinburgh, raising questions about their status as the second best team in the world.Bet on France vs. England and claim your 100% (100 Eur) freebet at Ohmbet now!
Team news & lineups:
France continues to deal with injuries particularly at the No.10 position, and they will rely on veteran Trinh-Duc at that position for this match (the only change compared to the lineup that played Italy two weeks ago). England has lost Dylan Hartley due to injury and will tweak the lineup a bit, but will field a similar team to the one that lost in Scotland last time out.
France: 15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 Benjamin Fall, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Rémy Grosso, 10 François Trinh-Duc, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Yacouba Camara, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Paul Gabrillagues, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhelm Guirado (c), 1 Jefferson Poirot
England: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Jonny May, 13 Ben Te’o, 12 Owen Farrell (c), 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Chris Robshaw, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
England hasn`t quite been at its best recently, but make no mistake, the criticism they face only comes in comparition with their own high standards. The Three Lions remain one of the Top 3 teams in the world despite losing to Scotland last week, and will be desperate to bounce back and prove their worth.
But England has much more to play for than pride, as a win today would set up a home championship decider for them against Ireland, so motivation will be at a maximum.
The English are a well oiled machine, there is no need to panic after one loss, and they should have too much for an improving but still raw French team. A player for player analysis will see England win in most positions, not to mention their superior discipline and chemistry.
Credit to the French for playing good rugby so far in the tournament, but they still make too many errors, concede too many penalties, and have shown huge weaknesses late in games. It is fair to say that they are slightly overrated at the moment (which is nothing new when it comes to France). Overall, there is a clear gap in quality right now between these two sides and England`s superior class, along with their better bench and pragmatism, should grant them an important victory.
Trinh-Duc at No.10 could also be a weakness for France, as the veteran doesn`t quite fit into the energetic game plan of this new French side, and quite honestly he has generally been a liability in the last few years for Les Bleus. Against a team like England, this injury-forced compromise at the key No.10 position could be fatal for France.
Expect a physical clash and it could end up being pretty tight for 60 minutes or so, especially as England hasn`t really blown out teams recently. But the Three Lions are definitely solid enough to steadily put points past France – and they could well run away with the game in the end when the substitutes come in.
I will back the Three Lions with plenty of confidence in this encounter, so my tip will be England to cover the 6.5 point spread handicap – a line which is not scary at all, and which is well within England`s reach. Odds are dropping on this bet at the moment, and the line is moving towards 7.5, so I recommend taking this early. Prediction: France – England 11 – 26.