Six Nations Rugby
England v France
The Six Nations has brought contrasting fortunes for these two pre-tournament favourites, but Le Crunch is always fascinating. England remain the only side left with a shot at the Grand Slam while France have made their worst ever start to a Six Nations campaign losing two from two. Here are five things to look out for this weekend:
1) Wesley Fofana
Arguable the most gifted player on the pitch, Fofana will finally get a chance to play centre. Most spectators have been left bemused as to why he was stuck out on the wing, where his greatest talents, picking a line and offloading, were nullified. England will have to be on guard in defence or Fofana’s turn of foot and eye for a gap will cause problems.
2) Owen Farrell
At such a young age, Farrell is displaying the form of his life right now. He showed against Scotland that he is not afraid to take the ball to the gain-line, his pass for Geoff Parling’s try was a thing of beauty. In difficult conditions against Ireland he managed to control the game with his boot and has cemented himself as a reliable ten for England.
3) Not such a Donkey
Mathieu Bastareaud may like to dress like a donkey in his spare time, but he far from plays like one. His battle with equally powerful England counterpart Manu Tuilagi is the confrontation everyone is waiting for and whoever comes out on top could have a big influence on the result of the match.
4) France can’t get any worse…
France are in the midst of their worst ever start to a Six Nations, losing their first two games. The last time that happened was in 1982, when they lost their first three matches. Defeat to England will be their poorest losing run in the tournament since they lost six in a row between 1957-58, surely they have too much class to be breaking all the wrong records.
5) Courtney Lawes at Six
All of Courtney Lawes’ previous England starts have been in the second row. Playing blind-side should allow him to utilize his athleticism going forward as we know about his excellent defensive qualities. The question is whether he’s just quick for a second row or has the pace and stamina to play blind-side at Test level.