French Second String
Le Crunch doesn’t look set to be quite the encounter it could have been after an agreement between the French Federation and Top 14 clubs, meaning that their players have been capped at the number of appearances they can make for their international side on the return to rugby.
As a result, none of the starting XV that beat England at Stade de France back in February are included in the French 31-man group for this Twickenham match, and you’d have to be concerned of their chances considering.
England At Full Strength
Eddie Jones has made just one change to his side that edged past Wales last weekend, as the illustrious Anthony Watson returns to the wing for Jonathan Joseph after his Bath colleague was ruled out with a calf injury he sustained in Llanelli.
It looks set to be a statement by the second-best team in the world, and with the World Champions and top team South Africa currently not playing any rugby, they’ll no doubt close the gap in the rankings with an impressive victory this weekend.
England -14 Point Handicap
England’s solitary defeat this year came in that meeting with Les Bleus back at the start of the year, and they’ll no doubt want revenge.
The hosts have won 26 of their 29 home matches dating back to October 2015, as their only two such defeats came in 2018 against New Zealand and a prime Ireland outfit under Joe Schmidt.
Eight of the last 12 of those came by 14 or more points dating back to November 2018, and we’re struggling to see this game playing out any other way.
Against the three best teams in the world (England, New Zealand and South Africa), France have lost all 15 encounters outside of their home country since the start of 2013. 10 of the last 13 came by more than 14 points, including both the previous two by 36 and 35 point margins in London and Dunedin respectively.
Although this French side looks a much-improved outfit under Fabian Galthie, with so many changes being made to their squad, we have to get behind a consistent Red Roses side.