England change 3 & France change 7 ahead of Twickenham clash

Stuart Lancaster has named his side to play France at Twickenham on Saturday, he makes three changes to the England side that beat Ireland two weeks ago in Dublin.

The return of Manu Tuilagi will makes most of the headlines, he replaces Billy Twelvetrees, who is on the bench, at inside centre after coming on off the bench against Ireland.

He will partner Brad Barritt in the midfield and is the only change to the England backline from that victory in Dublin, though his selection does indicate a return to a slightly more direct from of rugby, perhaps in reaction to the threat of Fofana and Bastareaud opposite.

In the forwards James Haskell and Tom Youngs drop to the bench, with Dylan Hartley replacing Youngs in the starting fifteen after some lineout malfunctions in Dublin.

Haskell is replaced at blindside flanker by Courtney Lawes, who moves from his usual position in the second row to add some physicality to England’s play. With Haskell and Ben Morgan on the bench, Lawes will also likely cover any potential injuries in the second row.

France have also made changes, reacting strongly from their defeats to Wales and Italy by making seven changes to the side that was beaten by Wales in Paris.

They also make one positional change as Wesley Fofana is brought in from the wing and back to his more usual, and devastatingly destructive, role at inside centre.

Phillipe Saint Andre has responded to criticism of his side by replacing both Freddie Michalak and Maxime Machenaud at half back, with Morgan Parra coming in at scrum half, and Francois Trinh-Duc starting at fly half. Michalak and Machenaud will start from the bench.

With Fofana coming into the centres, the experienced Vincent Clerc, who has 34 international tries to his name, fills his vacated slot on the wing.

In the forwards, Yannick Nyanga replaces the injured Flugence Ouedraogo on the openside, froming an all Toulouse back row with Louis Picamoles and captain Thierry Dusautoir.

In the front row Benjamin Kayser replaces Dimitri Szarzewski at hooker, while Thomas Domingo replaces Yannick Forestier at loosehead, Forestier drops out of the squad altogether.

Christophe Samson comes into the second row in place of Jocelino Suta, he drops to the bench having previously been brought in as an injury replacement for the captain, Pascal Pape.

With every player now playing in their true positions, it is the side that many pundits believe Saint Andre should have been selecting form the start of the tournament, and there are many predicting that this is a French XV that will pose a far greater challenge to England than many had expected.

England XV:

15. Alex Goode 14. Chris Ashton 13. Brad Barritt 12. Manu Tuilagi 11. Mike Brown 10. Owen Farrell 9. Ben Youngs; 1. Joe Marler 2. Dylan Hartley 3. Dan Cole 4. Joe Launchbury 5. Geoff Parling 6. Courtney Lawes 7. Chris Robshaw (c) 8. Tom Wood.

Replacements: 16. Tom Youngs 17. David Wilson 18. Mako Vunipola 19. James Haskell 20. Thomas Waldrom 21. Danny Care 22. Toby Flood 23. Billy Twelvetrees.

France XV:

15. Yoann Huget 14. Vincent Clerc 13. Mathieu Bastareaud 12. Wesley Fofana 11. Benjamin Fall 10. Francois Trinh-Duc 9. Morgan Parra; 1. Thomas Domingo 2. Benjamin Kayser 3. Nicolas Mas 4. Christophe Samson 5. Yoann Maestri 6. Yannick Nyanga 7. Thierry Dusautoir (c) 8. Louis Picamoles.

Replacements: 16. Dimitri Szarzewski 17. Vincent Debaty 18. Luc Ducalcon 19. Jocelino Suta 20. Antonie Claassen 21. Maxime Machenaud 22. Frederic Michalak 23. Florian Fritz.

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