England face test of nerve in Paris

England arrive in Paris seeking a first Six Nations victory at Stade de France for eight years today.

England arrive in Paris seeking a first Six Nations victory at Stade de France for eight years today.

The World Cup finalists have avoided the injury curse that had blighted their opening games against Wales and Italy.

Head coach Brian Ashton is able to field the team he announced four days ago, with props Andrew Sheridan and Phil Vickery returning to reinforce England’s set-piece game.

England, World Cup semi-final conquerors of France four months ago, need a victory to retain any realistic hopes of ending a five-year wait for the Six Nations title.

Les Bleus start as marginal favourites however, despite parading an inexperienced core to their side in number eight Louis Picamoles, teenaged scrum-half Morgan Parra and fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc.

France: Heymans, Rougerie, Marty, Traille, Clerc, Trinh-Duc, Parra, Faure, Szarzewski, Mas, Nallet, Pape, Bonnaire, Dusautoir, Picamoles.

Replacements: Servat, Poux, Thion, Ouedraogo, Yachvili, Skrela, Floch.

England: Balshaw, Sackey, Noon, Flood, Vainikolo, Wilkinson, Wigglesworth, Sheridan, Regan, Vickery, Shaw, Borthwick, Haskell, Lipman, Easter.

Replacements: Mears, Stevens, Kay, Croft, Hodgson, Cipriani, Tait.

Referee: Steve Walsh (New Zealand).

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