Betting: England to beat France and set up Le Crunch game with Ireland

 
Ben Cleminson
France v England - RBS Six Nations
England claimed the Grand Slam on their last visit to Paris in 2016 (Source: Getty)

Why don't you pick on someone your own size?

That’s the question for Eddie Jones and England, who face a monstrous France team at the Stade de France on Saturday afternoon.

The answer? Like all bullies, it’s about exposing weaknesses rather than confronting the opposition’s area of strength.

Read more: Watson: England not worrying about bonus point win in France

While the likes of Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes are by no means weedy, it would be foolish to get into an arm wrestle with such a hefty French pack.

In the loose, Nathan Hughes and Chris Robshaw will be tasked with offering options away from the breakdown, an area where Scotland came out on top last week.

To tire out France’s sizeable but immobile forwards, England will have to utilise every blade of grass at the Stade de France, and the management of that rests heavily on the shoulders of George Ford and Owen Farrell.

Likely to be faced with all 19 stones of French centre Mathieu Bastareaud from the off, Ford and Farrell will keep it smart and use the boot to create space and avoid too much contact early on.

Read more: Jones ponders breaking up Ford-Farrell England axis

England will have to be at the very top of their game to keep their dream of a record-breaking three Six Nations titles in a row alive, but I expect just that.

With a strict game plan in place and some fresh attacking legs in the backs, England should be able to return from France with a win, albeit a little battered and bruised.

Elliot Daly, who has scored six tries in 11 international starts, is back in the frame and looks a nice bet to open the scoring at 9/1, while Grosvenorsport.com’s 7/5 for England to triumph by 1-12 points appeals.

Pointers

England by 1-12 points - 7/5 (Grosvenorsport.com)

Elliot Daly first try scorer - 9/1 (General)

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