Lawrence Dallaglio column
It has been clear over the past two years that France are a team on the up as we head towards their home World Cup next year.
But so far, they have nothing tangible to show for their progress and the beautiful rugby they have been playing. Yes, they have beaten the All Blacks and won every game so far in this Six Nations, but they are yet to win the title that serves notice that they are contenders for rugby’s biggest prize in 2023.
Tomorrow, against England in Paris, they have the chance to change that, with their first Six Nations title since the Grand Slam of 2010. Many England fans — myself included — feel their side guilty of under-achieving: for France to have to wait 12 years between titles is criminal.
They have been the game’s sleeping giants. For so many years, the rest of the game has thought that if France can get things right, there is so much to be worried about.
Their revival has been the product of a terrific generation of young players, and some very good decisions by their management, from federation president Bernard Laporte down.
Click here to read Lawrence Dallaglio’s pre-match column in full
France vs England prediction
France were repeatedly frustrated by Wales, and somewhat fortunate that the hosts lacked a killer instinct in the second half of an attritional contest at the Principality Stadium.
But championship success is built on still managing to prevail in such situations and how Les Bleus will relish the chance to seal a Grand Slam against England of all teams.
Jones’ men should be incredibly proud of their battling display with 14 men against Ireland and his side will be very eager to ruin the Grand Slam dream here.
France’s bench split shows they are ready for an ultra-physical confrontation and you’d expect their attacking talent to be chomping at the bit to get loose after being contained on Friday night in Cardiff.
Marshalled by the excellent reigning World Player of the Year Antoine Dupont, a first Grand Slam for 12 years surely beckons.
France to win by 10 points.
France vs England lineups
France lineup: M Jaminet; D Penaud, G Fickou, J Danty, G Villiere; R Ntamack, A Dupont (c); C Baille, J Marchand, U Atonio, C Woki, P Willimse, F Cros, A Jelonch, G Alldritt.
Replacements: P Mauvaka, JB Gros, M Haouas, R Taofifenua, T Flament, D Cretin, M Lucu, T Ramos.
England lineup: Furbank; Steward, Marchant, Slade, Nowell; Smith, Youngs; Genge, George, Stuart, Itoje, Isiekwe, Lawes (c), Underhill, Simmonds.
Replacements: Marler, Dolly, Sinckler, Chessum, Dombrandt, Randall, Ford, Daly.
England team news: Jones springs surprises
England have produced a surprise by naming George Furbank at full-back, with Jones likely set to employ a tactical kicking game in Paris.
Freddie Steward shifts onto the wing with Max Malins dropped altogether, while Ben Youngs returns at scrum-half in place of Harry Randall.
In the pack, Kyle Sinckler is replaced by Will Stuart at tighthead and Sam Underhill deputises for the injured Tom Curry, while the suspended Ewels makes way for Nick Isiekwe.
France team news: Penaud returns after Covid
France have made just one change from their gritty 13-9 win over Wales in Cardiff, with Damian Penaud now recovered from Covid-19 and back on the right wing.
Yoram Moefana drops out of the squad altogether as Fabien Galthie opts for a 6-2 bench split in preparation for a bruising second half, with lock Romain Taofifenua also back in the 23 after a positive test.
France’s remarkable consistency with selection has seen them make just one non-Covid enforced change throughout the entire Six Nations.
That’s quite some feat.
How to watch France vs England
TV channel: In the UK, France vs England will be broadcast live on ITV, with coverage beginning at 7:15pm.
Live stream: Live coverage of the match will also be available online, via the ITV website and ITV Hub.
Welcome to France vs England LIVE Six Nations coverage!
Good afternoon and welcome to Standard Sport’s final LIVE coverage of the 2022 Six Nations!
An exciting championship and Super Saturday finishes here, with France out to try and claim their first Grand Slam and title since 2010.
Meanwhile, England – who cannot hope to win the title after their valiant defeat by Ireland at Twickenham – will be desperate to finish as high as they can to boost morale with a World Cup looming, while spoiling their old rivals’ party in the process.
Stay tuned for live build-up to a huge clash at the Stade de France, including team news, lineups, thoughts from both camps and minute-by-minute updates after kick-off at 8pm GMT.