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Parling to start for England against France

Having started every match in the tournament so far, there is no room for Attwood on the bench either, with Harlequins’ Nick Easter named a replacement.


Easter’s inclusion looks a reflection of the fact the Six Nations crown is likely to go down to points difference and England will be chasing a score.

“Geoff did well off the bench against Scotland and now that he has got some games under his belt, we feel it is the right time to start him and use his experience and quality in the starting line-up,” England head coach Stuart Lancaster said.

“The same goes for Nick Easter, who has really impressed in camp and with his appearances off the bench in the second row.

“He is a quality ball carrier and great defender… something we feel we will need in the latter stages of the game.”

England, Ireland and Wales are all tied on six points, with France in fourth on four. The English lead the table due to a superior points scored difference of 37, compared to Ireland’s 33 and Wales’ 12.

Wales travel to Italy in the opening fixture at 1230 GMT, while the Irish look to rack up points against the Scots in Edinburgh at 1430 GMT.

Were Ireland and Wales both to lose their games, France could win the Six Nations title by beating England.

England kick off against France at 1700 GMT at Twickenham.

England: 15-Mike Brown, 14-Anthony Watson, 13-Jonathan Joseph, 12-Luther Burrell, 11-Jack Nowell, 10-George Ford, 9-Ben Youngs; 8-Billy Vunipola, 7-Chris Robshaw (captain), 6-James Haskell, 5-Courtney Lawes, 4-Geoff Parling, 3-Dan Cole, 2-Dylan Hartley, 1-Joe Marler

Replacements: 16-Tom Youngs, 17-Mako Vunipola, 18-Kieran Brookes, 19-Nick Easter, 20-Tom Wood, 21-Richard Wigglesworth, 22-Danny Cipriani, 23-Billy Twelvetrees


15-Scott Spedding, 14-Yoann Huget, 13-Gael Fickou, 12-Maxime Mermoz, 11-Noa Nakaitaci, 10-Jules Plisson, 9-Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 8-Loann Goujon, 7-Bernard Le Roux, 6-Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5-Yoann Maestri, 4-Alexandre Flanquart, 3-Nicolas Mas, 2-Guilhem Guirado, 1-Vincent Debaty

Replacements: 16-Benjamin Kayser, 17-Rabah Slimani, 18-Uini Atonio, 19-Romain Taofifenua, 20-Damien Chouly, 21-Rory Kockott, 22-Remi Tales, 23-Mathieu Bastareaud

(Editing by John O’Brien)