Six Nations: England can look to past wins in France for inspiration

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England head to Paris with an excellent record at the Stade de France and Stuart Lancaster’s side will be full of confidence for this vital Six Nations opener.

Recent history is on the side of the English with Lancaster’s men winning on three of their last four trips across the channel but with two debutants in their line-up Ladbrokes has France as favourites for victory at 4/7.

Winger Jack Nowell and centre Luther Burrell are handed their debuts, while Johnny May will be making just his second appearance in the white shirt in what is an inexperienced backline.

But England, who are 6/4 with the bookmaker for victory in Paris, seem to have had the measure of a hit and miss French team in recent seasons.

Chris Robshaw’s side have produced back-to-back Six Nations wins over Les Blues and they have won six of the last eight encounters between the two sides.

But predicting which French team will turn up is always difficult and with stats suggesting Phillipe Saint-Andre’s side always perform better in the Six Nations after a Lions tour, siding with the home team could be the sensible option.

With many of the headlines in the build up to Le Crunch focussing on England’s debutants it would be of no surprise if either popped up with a try and Nowell could be a shrewd bet to score anytime at 4/1.

The Exeter man has put in some eye-catching displays on the wing this season and he is 14/1 to cross the line first in Saint-Denis.

Luther Burrell, who starts at outside centre for the Red Rose, is also 14/1 to score first in the match with the bookmaker, while the Saints star is on at 4/1 to score at any point in the match.

Teams:

France – Brice Dulin (Castres); Yoann Huget (Toulouse), Mathieu Bastareaud (Toulon), Wesley Fofana (Clermont Auvergne), Maxime Medard (Toulouse); Jules Plisson (Stade Francais), Jean-Marc Doussain (Toulouse); Thomas Domingo (Clermont Auvergne), Benjamin Kayser (Clermont Auvergne), Nicolas Mas (Montpellier), Alexandre Flanquart (Stade Francais), Pascal Pape (Stade Francais, capt), Yannick Nyanga (Toulouse), Bernard Le Roux (Racing Metro), Louis Picamoles (Toulouse).

England – Mike Brown (Harlequins); Jack Nowell (Exeter), Luther Burrell (Northampton), Billy Twelvetrees, Jonny May (both Gloucester) Owen Farrell (Saracens), Danny Care, Joe Marler (both Harlequins), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), Dan Cole (Leicester), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood (both Northampton), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Billy Vunipola (Saracens)

Venue: Stade de France

Kick-off: 5pm

Television: BBC1

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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