Rugby World Cup: England drop Haskell and Lawes for France clash

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Nick Easter and Tom Palmer have been rewarded for their solid second half performance against Scotland with a starting berth against France in their World Cup quarter final this Saturday.

In the centre, Toby Flood has been drafted in to replace the injured Mike Tindall who hasn’t exactly set the World Cup alight so far.

Meanwhile, Mark Cueto has replaced Delon Armitage on the wing with the London Irish man serving a one-game suspension for his high tackle on Scotland’s Chris Paterson.

It shouldn’t be an issue for England though, with Cueto already running over a hat-trick against Romania in this tournament.

Martin Johnson’s side head into this game as 4/7 favourites after France finished their Pool A campaign with a shock 19-14 defeat to Tonga.

England have an excellent recent record against France in the tournament having dumped them out of the previous two World Cups.

They met in the semi-final stages in 2003 when England swept them aside 24-7 and at the same stage in 2007 with England battling to a 14-9 win.

However, France shouldn’t be discounted and are currently 13/8 to make it to the semis in spite of the troubles in the camp that have seen coach Marc Lièvremont and his players exchange harsh words.

It should be an extremely close game and the handicap markets bear this fact out with France winning with a four-point head start just 10/11.

ENGLAND: Foden; Ashton, Tuilagi, Flood, Cueto; Wilkinson, Youngs; Stevens, Thompson, Cole, Deacon, Palmer, Croft, Moody, Easter.

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