England welcome France for the latest chapter in ‘Le Crunch’ after contrasting fortunes for both countries last weekend.
Eddie Jones’ side beat defending champions Ireland 32-20 at the Aviva Stadium while France squandered a 16-0 lead in their 24-19 defeat to Wales at the Stade de France.
We take an in-depth look at both sides ahead of their meeting at Twickenham.
England’s Twickenham dominance to continue
England have had the upper hand on France when it comes to Six Nations matches played at Twickenham in recent years, winning the last six games.
After finishing fifth last year, England made a statement with their win in Dublin last weekend when they dominated their opponents in every aspect of the game.
The last time France left London with a championship win was on Valentine’s Day, 2005, when they claimed an 18-17 victory.
The manner of France’s defeat to Wales last weekend highlighted once again their inconsistency and a trip over to London to face a resurgent England side is going to be one of the toughest challenges they face in this year’s competition.
Ashton to score on his return
Chris Ashton will make his first start for England in the Six Nations since 2013 after being named on the right wing ahead of Jack Nowell.
Ashton’s experience of spending a season playing in France for Toulon will be an advantage for Eddie Jones, who is keen to get his team clicking ahead of the World Cup in Japan later this year.
The 31-year-old will be keen to mark his return with a try and add to the 20 he has already scored in 40 starts for his country.
This is a chance for Ashton to shine and stake a claim in Jones’ squad for Japan and like so many of the chances created for him on the rugby pitch, he is expected to take it with both hands and do the ‘Ash Splash’ once again.
More than 45 total points to be scored
Both England and France showed last weekend they are capable of scoring points.
England scored five tries in their 32-20 win over Ireland in Dublin and they will be keen to prove they are capable of doing so again in front of a packed-out Twickenham.
In the pouring rain in Paris, France managed to score 19 points and if they had defended better, they would have beaten Wales.
If they defend that badly again England have the talent to punish them, which is why we think over 45 points will be scored at Twickenham.