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France vs England - Match Thread

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 1:04 pm

Sunday 2nd February 15:00 - France (a)
BBC Sport

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant 1: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant 2: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)


Recent Form

France:
20th October 2019: Wales - Lost 19-20
6th Ocober 2019: Tonga - Won 23-21
2nd October 2019: USA - Won 33-9
21st September 2019: Argentina - Won 23-21
30th August 2019: Italy - Won 47-19



England
2nd November 2019: South Africa - Lost 12-32
26th October 2019: New Zealand: Won 19:7
19th October 2019: Australia - won 40-16
5th October 2019: Argentina - Won 39-10
26th September 2019: USA - Won 45-7


Head to Head

Matches Played - 90
Wins - England 49, France 34
Draws - 7
Tries - England 165, France 143



Teams

France:
France vs England - Match Thread 9k=

Bouthier; Thomas, Vakatawa, Fickou, Penaud; Ntamack, Dupont; Baille, Marchand, Haouas, Le Roux, Willemse, Cros, Ollivon (c), Alldritt

Reps: Mauvaka, Poirot, Bamba, Palu, Woki, Serin, Jalibert, Rattez


England
France vs England - Match Thread 2Q==

Furbank; May, Tuilagi, Farrell (capt), Daly; Ford, B Youngs; Marler, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Ewels, Lawes, Underhill, Curry.

Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Genge, Stuart, Kruis, Ludlam, Heinz, Devoto, Joseph


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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 1:31 pm

TWO UNCAPPED PLAYERS IN FRESH-FACED FRANCE SIDE

> Montpellier duo Anthony Bouthier and Mohamed Haouas make their debuts at full-back and tighthead respectively
> Charles Ollivon captain for the first time
> Core of World Cup backline remains including Dupont-Ntamack half-back pairing


Fabien Galthié has named two debutants in his France team as Charles Ollivon leads a young side in their Guinness Six Nations opener against England in Paris on Sunday.

Mohamed Haouas starts at tighthead prop, while his Montpellier colleague Anthony Bouthier gets the nod at full-back, with a further two uncapped players among the replacements.

Racing 92’s Boris Palu and Bordeaux-Bègles’ Cameron Woki could make their Test bows if they come off the bench.

While it is a young side, the core of the team remains from the World Cup, with Ollivon captaining in the back row alongside Grégory Alldritt, with the pair joined by François Cros to form the same trio that impressed against Scotland in a warm-up match in Nice.

Julien Marchand makes his first Test start at hooker, with Guilhem Guirado retired and Camille Chat having pulled out through injury, and is joined by Toulouse teammate Cyril Baille in the front row.

Bernard Le Roux continues in the second row alongside Paul Willemse, with Palu offering cover off the bench.

The backline has a familiar feel as Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack make up the half-back pairing, while Gaël Fickou and Virimi Vakatawa slot into the midfield.

Damian Penaud keeps his place on the wing, with Racing’s Teddy Thomas back to start opposite him.

The bench has some experience alongside the uncapped duo, Jefferson Poirot and Baptiste Serin both included, while Demba Bamba and Peato Mauvaka will look to build on their first steps in international rugby last season.

Matthieu Jalibert is also rewarded for his fine form since recovering from a knee injury with a spot among the replacements, alongside La Rochelle back-three flyer Vincent Rattez.



15. Anthony Bouthier (Montpellier)
14. Teddy Thomas (Racing 92)
13. Virimi Vakatawa (Racing 92)
12. Gaël Fickou (Stade Français)
11. Damian Penaud (Clermont)
10. Romain Ntamack (Toulouse)
9. Antoine Dupont (Toulouse)

1. Cyril Baille (Toulouse)
2. Julien Marchand (Toulouse)
3. Mohamed Haouas (Montpellier)
4. Bernard Le Roux (Racing 92)
5. Paul Willemse (Montpellier)
6. François Cros (Toulouse)
7. Charles Ollivon (Toulon) (c)
8. Grégory Alldritt (La Rochelle)

Replacements:

16. Peato Mauvaka (Toulouse)
17. Jefferson Poirot (Bordeaux-Bègles)
18. Demba Bamba (Lyon)
19. Boris Palu (Racing 92)
20. Cameron Woki (Bordeaux-Bègles)
21. Baptiste Serin (Toulon)
22. Matthieu Jalibert (Bordeaux-Bègles)
23. Vincent Rattez (La Rochelle)

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 1:33 pm

On paper looks a great side.
Annoying wait now for our team.

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Post by BamBam on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 1:59 pm

Yeah I'm not fan of Sunday games in general, but definitely not for the opener. Its like watching everyone open their presents on Xmas morning, but having to wait till Boxing Day for your own!

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Post by BamBam on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 2:10 pm

Baille was brilliant at loosehead when he broke into the team, but think he's suffered a fair bit with injuries for a while. I don't know anything about their tighthead though, will be interesting to see how that battle goes. Strong pair of props on the bench too

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Post by Gooseberry on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 3:42 pm

Hearing rumours Phil Vickery is announcing his retirement after the split with his wife

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Post by Rugby Fan on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 3:45 pm

Gooseberry wrote:Hearing rumours Phil Vickery is announcing his retirement after the split with his wife
Genius...or should I say, chef's kiss.

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Post by Rinsure on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 5:02 pm

EJ has announced the 25 man squad for the game:

https://www.englandrugby.com/news/article/six-nations-eddie-jones-confirms-england-squad-to-face-france

Forwards

Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 21 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 19 caps)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 14 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 45 caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 34 caps)
George Kruis (Saracens, 41 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 81 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 6 caps)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 68 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 31 caps)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 15 caps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 58 caps)

Backs

Elliot Daly (Saracens, 39 caps)
Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs, 1 cap)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 79 caps)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 65 caps)
George Furbank (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 9 caps)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 47 caps)
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 52 caps)
Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 40 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 95 caps)

So no Ben Earl, but Devoto, Furbank and Thorley make the cut.

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Post by Rinsure on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 5:07 pm

So...

Loosie props: Mako, Genge, Marler
Hookers: George, LCD
Tight heads: Sinckler, Stuart
Locks: Ewels, Itoje, Kruis, Lawes
Back row: Curry, Ludlam, Underhill

Scrum half: Youngs, Heinz
Fly halfs: Ford, Faz
Centres: Devoto, JJ, Manu
Back 3: Daly, Furbank, May, Thorley

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Post by Poorfour on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 5:15 pm

Or to put it another way:
Mako, George, Sinckler
Itoje Kruis
Underhill Ludlam Curry

Youngs Ford
May Faz Manu Thorley
Daly

Marler LCD Stuart Ewels Lawes Heinz JJ Firbank

Or something very close to that.
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Post by Rinsure on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 5:17 pm

So safe to say Will Stuart will be making his debut, as will one of Furbank or Thorley (Watson's calf hasn't recovered).

Only three for the back row suggests to me that the rumours of Lawes starting at 6 look on the money, with Ludlam likely to be on the bench.


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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 5:18 pm

Urgghh. We're going to see lawes in the back row arent we. Good news is from that I suspect furbank is going to start.

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Post by lostinwales on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 5:28 pm

Has to be either Furbank or Thorley to start surely.

Given the comments on the height of the French back row I guess its not the worst idea shoehorning another lock in there, just not ideal.

Curry/Ludlam/Underhill feels like a very Aussie style back row.

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Post by BamBam on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 5:28 pm

Yeah Lawes is going to be covering back row at the very least

Pretty happy with the rest

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 5:34 pm

Rinsure wrote:So...

Loosie props: Mako, Genge, Marler
Hookers: George, LCD
Tight heads: Sinckler, Stuart
Locks: Ewels, Itoje, Kruis, Lawes
Back row: Curry, Ludlam, Underhill

Scrum half: Youngs, Heinz
Fly halfs: Ford, Faz
Centres: Devoto, JJ, Manu
Back 3: Daly, Furbank, May, Thorley

LCD left the squad due to family reasons, so presumably Dunn comes in for him.

two open sides in the back row

Can see Furbank on the bench as he covers just about the whole line from 10 onwards.

With that set up I can see a Ford / Farrell axis to start at least, Manu at 13,

May and Thorley are the only out and out wingers unless he intends to play Daly there and start Furbank in which case JJ to the bench.

Lawes covering back row.=, with potentially Ewels.

Side I would like to see, Marler, George, Sinkler, Itoje, Lawes, Ludlam, Curry, Underhill, Hienz, Ford, May, Farrell, Manu, Daly, Furbank.

Mako, Dunn, Stuart, Kruis, Ewels, Youngs, JJ, Thorley.

Although I suspect Lawes will start as 6. The speed and ability of the French back line requires a lock like Lawes to cover across, Kruis does not have the speed or the ability to do that and we could be left exposed.

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Post by BamBam on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 5:36 pm

LCD is back with the squad tomorrow according to the link WPI

Would be happy with that team if it was chosen.

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Post by whocares on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 6:18 pm

It appears that EJ is trying to undermine French morale:
https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-rugby-union-nations-france-galthie/rugby-ferocious-france-bracing-themselves-for-englands-brutal-physicality-idUKKBN1ZT2BV

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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 6:28 pm

France don't have a No.7 as far as I can tell. They'll either play a bulldozer game, or an offloading game (hence the taller guys picked). Two South Africans at lock, for France... coupled with them sending out scouts everywhere has to be a concern for world rugby.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 6:31 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Urgghh. We're going to see lawes in the back row arent we. Good news is from that I suspect furbank is going to start.

Hmm I suspect Eddie might go with Devoto and JJ on the bench with JJ covering wing. He's done similar before.

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Post by whocares on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 6:52 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:France don't have a No.7 as far as I can tell. They'll either play a bulldozer game, or an offloading game (hence the taller guys picked). Two South Africans at lock, for France... coupled with them sending out scouts everywhere has to be a concern for world rugby.

As other countries in the NH we have a shortage of modern physical lock type of players. The truth is that young guys who fit the mould are more likely to end up playing basket ball. And no the FFR don’t have scouts to pick up foreigners before they get selected by their own countries. Clubs might but that’s another matter.

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Post by whocares on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 7:39 pm

on the team itself there is more surprises than what I was expecting :
- one ex con starting at TH (think he was still under court supervision / probation last week).
- 100% South African beefy second row
- no Macalou or Fisher in the back row or bench
As EJ rightly mentioned there is a clear lack of experience in this team but not sure they are not ready for the English « physical » challenge kiss

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Post by B91212 on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 7:47 pm

Lawes has played 6 a few times for England now and other than the first time he started there (under the previous regime) I don't he's let anyone down. Has plenty of pace and think close counter carrying may well be needed with Big Billy being injured. Might not make many yards ball in hand but hopefully he'll tie in defenders and make space for others. With Itoje playing it's almost like England would be playing 4 backrows anyway.

After the WC final I'm more concerned that playing a backrow of Undercurry and Ludlam would see the pack somewhat under strength as it would basically be playing with 3 opensides.

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Post by B91212 on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 7:49 pm

BamBam wrote:LCD is back with the squad tomorrow according to the link
Good. I think he's quietly becoming a somewhat important cog in the 23 who'd be missed if he wasn't available.

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Post by B91212 on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 7:52 pm

whocares wrote:- one ex con starting at TH (think he was still under court supervision / probation last week)
First I've heard of this. Maybe England should start with Marler at LH to mercilessly remind him of the fact for the first 50 minutes Wink

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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 7:53 pm

whocares wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:France don't have a No.7 as far as I can tell. They'll either play a bulldozer game, or an offloading game (hence the taller guys picked). Two South Africans at lock, for France... coupled with them sending out scouts everywhere has to be a concern for world rugby.

As other countries in the NH we have a shortage of modern physical lock type of players. The truth is that young guys who fit the mould are more likely to end up playing basket ball. And no the FFR don’t have scouts to pick up foreigners before they get selected by their own countries. Clubs might but that’s another matter.

I didn't think it was an issue in France. We're lacking in Wales. England and Ireland seem alright, not sure about Scotland.

Yes, targeting them at a young age so they get in on the residency rule, dodging the FFR restrictions.

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Post by whocares on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 7:59 pm

Ireland did fast track a young South African lock into the national team for the World Cup if I recall correctly .

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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 8:40 pm

True, which does seem like a cap and run now that he isn't included in the 6N. I didn't think they needed him at the time, and I believe they still don't.

*Quinn Roux is another South African!

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Post by yappysnap on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 8:55 pm

Why is it we're now relying on Lawes at 6? It went long ago we were all banging on about too many options in the back row, are they injured or deemed not good enough?

Lawes could be fine there. But I admit it does worry me a bit.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 9:52 pm

whocares wrote:Ireland did fast track a young South African lock into the national team for the World Cup if I recall correctly .

Kleyn isnt that young really he was also a really odd call as he is pretty crap.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 9:52 pm

So Curry starting at 8? Well isnt that wonderful...

If they want a huge back rower lock style...did they forget about Ted Hill ?

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Post by quinsforever on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 10:09 pm

real test of whether england's clear quality can overcome the combination of, world cup hangover, and any lingering Saracens dressing room ill will.

i think England are rightly favourites as long as our scrum doesn't prove lightweight. would imagine that is an area of focus for EJ after that world cup final.

which i was there for.

put me off food and drink that match did

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Post by Guest on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 10:15 pm

Well I hope France finally become the team they should be. Imagine what so many good quality French players who've played during the last 10 years must feel. They must think they've been denied a legacy and an experience of, if not greatness, then the experience of being part of one of the best rugby nations in the world.

It will make the 6 Nations much tougher if it becomes a 4 horse race instead of 3.

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Post by Mr Bounce on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 10:17 pm

Have to say I am surprised at the lack of Earl - thought he'd be in line for a start. But hey, it's Eddie, and we all know about him and his curveballs. I am expecting that the backrow will be all about speed and turnovers. If we play like we did against NZ and the French heads start to drop...

If England can overcome the mental block they had in the WC final, it could be a long afternoon in Paris for Les Bleues. I for one am hoping for a fairly close game with some French flair and some decent tries, and England coming out on top.

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Post by BamBam on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 9:50 am

The overnight leaks seem to confirm Lawes at 6 and Furbank at full back


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Post by BamBam on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 10:14 am

Marchant apparently played well in his first Super Rugby game, did anyone watch it?

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Post by Soul Requiem on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 10:21 am

GeordieFalcon wrote:So Curry starting at 8? Well isnt that wonderful...

If they want a huge back rower lock style...did they forget about Ted Hill ?

Rightly or wrongly Jones wants Lawes in the team no matter what and against a big pack he's no longer viable in the second row. Would rather a Hill or Dombrandt at 6 if he wants some heavy ballast there, seems a bit reactionary to a single match knowing full well no other team can replicate the strength of South Africa.

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 10:30 am

BamBam wrote:The overnight leaks seem to confirm Lawes at 6 and Furbank at full back


Furbank is an exciting selection didn’t see that coming


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Post by Rinsure on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 10:32 am

Just out:

England starting XV
15 George Furbank (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
14 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 52 caps)
13 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 40 caps)
12 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 79 caps) C
11 Elliot Daly (Saracens, 39 caps)
10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 65 caps)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 95 caps)
1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 68 caps)
2 Jamie George (Saracens, 45 caps)
3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 31 caps)
4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 34 caps)
5 Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)
6 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 81 caps)
7 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 15 caps)
8 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 19 caps)

Finishers
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 21 caps)
17 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 14 caps)
18 Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
19 George Kruis (Saracens, 41 caps)
20 Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 6 caps)
21 Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 9 caps)
22 Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs, 1 cap)
23 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 47 caps)


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Post by lostinwales on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 10:35 am

Interesting. Ewels starts. Not sure how much Kruis offers as a replacement but we'll find out.

I do hope Furbank is the one. Otherwise its a great back division.

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Post by RDW on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 10:38 am

What's he doing with that back row? Lawes isn't an international 6, Curry isn't an international 8....

It could be a masterstroke or it could go the way that so many coaches have fallen fowl of - picking the best individuals regardless of what position you put them in doesn't always work!

As an outsider I cna't undertand why he left Hughes and Dombrant out the squad - they've been excellent, Dombrant in particular. It's almost like EJ is so stubborn he doesn't pick these guys purely because other people say he should!


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Post by BamBam on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 10:43 am

lostinwales wrote:Interesting. Ewels starts. Not sure how much Kruis offers as a replacement but we'll find out.

I do hope Furbank is the one. Otherwise its a great back division.

Ewels is definitely an interesting one. He needs to show that he can force his way into the lock mix - perhaps an indication that Kruis is off abroad as has been speculated?

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Post by Rinsure on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 10:49 am

Think Furbank will go well.

Another case of Eddie getting his preferred players on the pitch regardless of the position they end up playing, however.

Back three looks great, midfield strong, and we we know what the halfbacks can do.

Tight five again look good, Ewels gets a chance to lay down a marker from the start. Front row is good, with strong finishers to come on too. Genge just preferred to Mako?

Back row... yeah. About that. All quality players, no doubt, but... we'll we shall see.

The French back line looks straight fire, so we need to keep our discipline, boss it up front, and not kick them the ball cheaply in broken field!


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Post by Duty281 on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 10:56 am

In Eddie we trust, always, despite any misgivings about Lawes and Curry at 8. France look very strong and powerful on paper.

This could be the game of the tournament between the two strongest teams in the competition - a shame that’s it arrived so early. Whoever wins will be highly confident of taking the title and having a great shot at the Grand Slam.

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Post by BamBam on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 11:00 am

Think Daly will go very well at wing as he has done in the past. If Watson is due back soon and Furbank impresses, I hope he is left to compete at wing rather than Furbank being dropped

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Post by RiscaGame on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 11:02 am

BamBam wrote:Think Daly will go very well at wing as he has done in the past. If Watson is due back soon and Furbank impresses, I hope he is left to compete at wing rather than Furbank being dropped

I'd expect Daly to go very well on the wing again. I might have to review my fantasy rugby selections now.

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Post by Cumbrian on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 11:12 am

Eddie finally puts a fullback at fullback and must compensate by putting a lock at six and an openside at 8. Very Happy

I haven't been able to figure out his mancrush on Ewels, but as others have said, perhaps it is an indicator that Kruis is off. Maybe the rational is that Ewels is physically stronger in the tight and Eddie simply felt he had to get Lawes on the pitch.

Anyway, front five is pretty good, love the backline and believe the individuals in the back-row are very good players. Looking forward to the match.
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Post by Cumbrian on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 11:15 am

Looking at the replacements, the front-row can all rampage with the ball in hand, the France pack better have been working on their fitness!
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Post by Rinsure on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 11:17 am

Mako fit, pure selection decision - with one eye on the short turnaround to next week.

Per Chris Jones: https://twitter.com/chjones9/status/1223200808101122049


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Post by mikey_dragon on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 11:18 am

RDW wrote:What's he doing with that back row? Lawes isn't an international 6, Curry isn't an international 8....

miaow is that you? Headscratch

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Post by BamBam on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 11:21 am

Without Billy and no other 8 in the squad, it was always going to be a "flanker" at 8.

I would have gone Dombrandt, in his absence Earl, but Eddie clearly disagrees. Curry is just going to continue his Richard Hill impression, and he played 8 a few times Wink

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