Six Nations 2020: England team to play France

Owen Farrell

England men’s head coach Eddie Jones has selected his side to play France in England’s opening match of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations in Paris on Sunday (KO 3pm, UK time, live on BBC).

Owen Farrell is named at inside centre and will captain the side with 675 caps in the starting XV.

George Ford starts inside Farrell at fly half with Manu Tuilagi at outside centre. Ben Youngs will play his 96th Test at scrum half.

George Furbank will make his England debut at fullback with Elliot Daly named on the left wing and Jonny May on the right following Anthony Watson’s late unavailability due to injury.

Tom Curry is selected as number eight with Sam Underhill at openside flanker and Courtney Lawes at blindside flanker.

Charlie Ewels will partner Maro Itoje in the second row with Jamie George, Joe Marler and Kyle Sinckler making up England’s front row.

Prop Will Stuart is included as a finisher and the second uncapped player in the match day 23.

Jones, heading into his fifth Guinness Six Nations as England men’s head coach, said: “It has been a massively exciting week for us. It is the start of the Guinness Six Nations, the best rugby tournament in the world. We have had a great preparation in Portugal with a quality training week this week.

“We have really worried about ourselves, getting ourselves right. We have picked a strong forward pack which is part of the England way and an exciting backline with young George Furbank playing his first Test at fullback.

“France can expect absolute brutality from England, we are going to go out there to make sure they understand what Test rugby is.It is about being brutal, it is about being physical and it is about dominating the set piece.”

England last played France in the 2019 edition of the tournament, beating Les Bleus 44-8 at Twickenham Stadium. Under Jones, England have won two of the last four Guinness Six Nations including a Grand Slam in 2016.

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)

11 thoughts on “Six Nations 2020: England team to play France

  1. Ah crap. How many times do England have to play Lawes at 6 before they realise it doesn’t work?
    Not even going to discuss the utter absurdity of Curry at 8
    ‘Spose we have the silver lining of no more Daly at fullback…

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    1. Agreed. This is Peak Eddie in terms of
      crap thinking. What a mess. We are right back to all the mistakes of the past, a lock at 6 ,an openside at 8, Ben Youngs for eternity..
      Does Eddie not remember how our back row got hammered the last time we played in Paris? We could easily lose again.

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  2. I actually don’t mind the Lawes at 6 experiment this time… I hated it before and thought it didn’t work but that was because he was playing with B Vunipola and Robshaw, so not enough pace or breakdown threat in there. With Curry and Underhill it’s a different story. Will massively rely on other players (Sinckler, Marler, Itoje, Lawes, Genge when he comes on) taking on the carrying role, however. I would obvious have preferred a proper 8 (Dombrandt cough cough) and Cunderhill on the flanks, but trying to be optimistic! Furbank is an exciting choice and agree Daly is better on the wing. Youngs – well what can you say. Hope he has one of his good days!

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    1. Furbank is exciting but I would’ve liked to have seen Thorley and May on the wings – Thorley has pace to burn and is a nasty runner to tackle.
      How Youngs is nearing 100 caps I really don’t know?!

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      1. I thoroughly agree with you here but struggle to see your logic as it is:

        A. Sensible
        B. Put players in their right positions

        You sir are a madman!

        (Sarcasm heavily implied).

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    2. Thanks for the optimism Henry! You make good points and I hope you are right..!
      Not in a good mood today…

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  3. Nope don’t care who it’s with Lawes at 6 doesn’t work, here an idea move him to lock, Tom Curry to the flank and play Dombrant or Sam Simmons at 8, radical thinking I know but it might just work.

    As for scrum half ffs two players the wrong side of 30 who are going to be on the knackers heap by 2023.

    Furbank is a positive selection but first cap at fullback in Paris is a big ask, I hope he has a cracking game.

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  4. We will have to give EJ the benefit of the doubt until the game is over. Sometimes his selections work and sometimes they back-fire. The man is a lottery or a box of chocolates; you don’t know what you’re gonna get! I expect T. Curry to have an interesting afternoon; he’s not big enough for an 8 though his speed could get him out of trouble if he picks and goes!
    Furbank is another interesting one. Let’s hope he tackles and catches better than Daley.

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  5. Should have put her on in the WC final.
    “And there goes Gladys, what a sublime catch. She dummies left and what speed, she’s beaten one, no two, no three ABs and she’s still going. No wait, she’s pulling her tights up and having a cuppa!

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  6. If we win by 20 does that mean Ed is the right man for the job? It all depends on the performance. If we win because France are finding their feet under a new regime and produce a disjointed display then judgement has to be reserved. alternatively, if we beast them from the off and look like a team that made the WC final only four months ago, then, I suppose the answer has to be yes.

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