Six Nations: England and Eddie Jones braced for kicking game in Paris

Eddie Jones has primed England for the kicking onslaught expected from France by selecting a second specialist full-back as George Furbank links up with Freddie Steward in a reshaped formation.
Eddie Jones, head coach of England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)Eddie Jones, head coach of England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Eddie Jones, head coach of England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

England have the limited aim of finishing third in the Six Nations table but know that if they fail to prevent the hosts from claiming the Grand Slam in the climax to ‘Super Saturday’ in Paris on Saturday, they could end up as low as fifth.

France kick more than any other team in the international game, so Jones has reinforced his backfield by giving Furbank the number 15 jersey for his first appearance of the Six Nations.

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The towering Steward moves to the right wing to accommodate Furbank, filling the vacancy created by Max Malins falling out of favour, and on the left is Jack Nowell, who is also an option in the full-back position.

And with Ben Youngs replacing Harry Randall at scrum-half, England have opted for another strong kicking option knowing that France can be vulnerable in the backfield.

“The selection is more tactical in terms of the way we think the game will be played. France are the highest kicking team in the world and I don’t think they’ll deviate away from that too much,” Jones said.

“They’re going to be a massively aroused team. They come through the centre with their big forwards and once they tie you up a little bit, they spread the ball to the backs.

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“But they don’t do that without using their long kicking game to get them up the field.”

There are three new faces in the pack with Kyle Sinckler recovering from the concussion sustained against Ireland yet limited to a bench role as support for the starting Will Stuart.

Charlie Ewels’s red card means Nick Isiekwe makes his third start of the Six Nations in the second row while Sam Underhill replaces hamstring-injury victim Tom Curry at openside. Ollie Chessum is named as lock cover.

England team: G Furbank (Northampton Saints); F Steward (Leicester Tigers), J Marchant (Harlequins), H Slade (Exeter Chiefs), J Nowell (Exeter Chiefs); M Smith (Harlequins), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers); E Genge (Leicester Tigers), J George (Saracens), W Stuart (Bath Rugby), M Itoje (Saracens), N Isiekwe (Saracens), C Lawes (Northampton Saints), S Underhill (Bath Rugby), S Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs).

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Replacements: N Dolly (Leicester Tigers), J Marler (Harlequins), K Sinckler (Bristol Bears), O Chessum (Leicester Tigers), A Dombrandt (Harlequins), H Randall (Bristol Bears), G Ford (Leicester Tigers), E Daly (Saracens).

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