England expect ferocious French

Tue, 19 Feb 2013 19:04
Large rowntree with players 630 Large rowntree farrell cat lancas Large lancaster   rowntree 630

England forwards coach Graham Rowntree has told his pack to expect a fierce French onslaught when they meet in the Six Nations at Twickenham on Saturday.

England forwards coach Graham Rowntree has told his pack to expect a fierce French onslaught when they meet in the Six Nations at Twickenham on Saturday.

England go into the match as the only team capable of winning the Grand Slam this season whereas France, the pre-tournament favourites, are on a mission to recover from back-to-back defeats - the first time they have lost their opening two games of a Championship season since 1982.

Rowntree expects under pressure France coach Philippe Saint-Andre to restore powerful front row forward Thomas Domingo to his starting line-up.

"Philippe Saint-Andre is already saying this is their Grand Slam," Rowntree said on Tuesday.

"It will change the whole complexion of their Championship if they win at the weekend and the way they will challenge us is through their forward pack.

"There is never a weak French scrum. We are preparing for Domingo. I think he will start.

"We have been watching him play for Clermont. He has been around that set-up for a few years now. He is an incredible scrummager, a compact little unit but technically very good.

"As an outfit, regardless of results, that area of the game is something we always respect with France."

England have competition for places across the board, including at loosehead prop where Mako Vunipola, who starred for Saracens in their Premiership win over Exeter last weekend, is challenging incumbent Joe Marler of Harlequins.

Vunipola has so far been used by England as a replacement and Rowntree said: "He played well [against Exeter] didn't he? He has been one of the real breakthrough players of the season so far.

"I am delighted with his progress. He demonstrates the strength we have got in many positions.

"I remember myself as a prop coming on and trying to get up to the pace of the game, trying to make an impact on the game and he does it better than I ever did," former England prop Rowntree added.

"Who we start, it's no bad thing for a person like him to sit on the bench. What I mean by that is he could start, I'm quite comfortable with him starting. It is horses for courses."

England head coach Stuart Lancaster announced an unchanged matchday 23 on Tuesday, although he could yet make alterations to his starting side when it is unveiled on Thursday - the same day Saint-Andre is also set to reveal his team.

AFP

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 25 February 2017
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
Fri, 03 March 2017
Chiefs v Blues 06h35 Hamilton
Ulster v Treviso 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Connacht v Zebre 19h35 Ascoli Piceno
Edinburgh v Ospreys 19h35 Myreside
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 20h15 AJ Bell Stadium
Sat, 04 March 2017
Hurricanes v Rebels 04h15 Wellington
Highlanders v Crusaders 06h45 Dunedin
Brumbies v Sharks 08h45 Canberra
Sunwolves v Kings 10h55 Singapore
Lions v Waratahs 13h05 Johannesburg
Glasgow Warriors v Dragons 15h00 Scotstoun Stadium
Worcester Warriors v Bristol 15h00 Sixways
Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Welford Road
Gloucester v Harlequins 15h00 Kingsholm
Bath v Wasps 15h00 Recreation Ground
Stormers v Jaguares 15h15 Cape Town
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 25 February 2017
Kings v Jaguares 26 | 39
Scotland v Wales 29 | 13
Cheetahs v Lions 25 | 28
Waratahs v Force 19 | 13
Crusaders v Brumbies 17 | 13
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 17 | 83
Fri, 24 February 2017
Munster v Scarlets 21 | 30
Dragons v Leinster 22 | 54
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 17 | 18
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 18 | 27
Reds v Sharks 28 | 26
Highlanders v Chiefs 15 | 24
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 18 | 56
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 13 | 22
Mon, 20 February 2017
UJ v UP-Tuks 18 | 11
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Scotland 3 2 0 1 9
England 2 2 0 0 8
Ireland 2 1 0 1 6
Wales 3 1 0 2 5
France 2 1 0 1 5
Italy 2 0 0 2 0