France vs England preview: Uncapped George Furbank to make his England debut 
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 10: Jonny May of England celebrates scoring his sides first try during the Guinness Six Nations match between England and France at Twickenham Stadium on February 10, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

In last year's tournament, England beat France convincingly 44-8 at Twickenham. However, this year's Le Crunch is likely to be far more contested.

Following their disappointing World Cup performance,  France have revitalised their squad and look to be much stronger now. They've brought in a new head coach and a collection of impressive coaches. 

  • Story behind the game

Just a few months on from their World Cup heartbreak against South Africa, Eddie Jones has named his first squad for the Six Nations fixture against France. 

Northampton Saints full-back George Furbank will be making his England debut against Les Bleus on Sunday afternoon. Furbank will form a back three alongside experienced winger Jonny May and SaracensElliot Daly. 

The Saints full-back has been been in good form for his club during his break-through season and Jones has full confidence in the 23-year-old.

"We have the greatest confidence in George. He is a nice, composed player with good core skills.

"He's very calm and deliberate and has a nice feel for the game."

  • Team news 

Jones has made three changes to the side that were beaten in Yokohama.

The England Head coach has brought Charlie Ewels into the second-row, Joe Marler into the front-row with Furbank debuting at full-back.  Jones has reverted back to George Ford at Fly-half and partnered Owen Farrell with Manu Tuilagi in the centres. 

Both Anthony Watson and Billy Vunipola are unavailable due to injury while Mako Vunipola is being rested ahead of the Scotland game. Watson suffered a calf strain against Harlequins earlier this month and Vunipola broke his arm against Racing 92 ruling him out of the Championships. 

France's new head coach, Fabien Galthie has named 19 uncapped players in his first Six Nations squad. Two of which, Anthony Bouthier and Mohamed Haouas make the starting XV this weekend. 

20-year-old fly-half Romain Ntamack starts alongside Antoine Dupont at scrum-half and flanker Charles Ollivon has been named captain in Galthie's first game in charge of Les Bleus.  

  • Line-ups

France: Bouthier; Thomas, Vakatawa, Fickou, Penaud; Ntamack, Dupont; Baille, Marchand, Haouas, Le Roux, Willemse, Cros, Ollivon (capt), Alldritt.

England: Furbank; May, Tuilagi, Farrell (capt), Daly; Ford, B Youngs; Marler, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Ewels, Lawes, Underhill, Curry.

  • Key clash 

Virimi Vakatawa vs Manu Tuilagi 

The French centre has been in outstanding form for Racing 92 this season and has the potential to light up the fixture if he is given clean ball. He's known to be one of the game's most dangerous centres and has taken his game to a new level in recent times. 

Similarly, everyone knows the effect that Tuilagi can have on a game. He's strong, powerful, and incredibly hard to stop once he gets going. Keeping him fit for the tournament could be key for England.

 

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