France flanker Thierry Dusautoir makes England slight favourites going into tomorrow’s RBS 6 Nations clash at Twickenham.
The French ended Wales’ Grand Slam hopes a fortnight ago and look to be in better form than Martin Johnson’s men, who have slipped to back-to-back defeats to Wales and Ireland.
But England have won their last two matches against their cross-channel rivals, in the semi-finals of the 2007 World Cup and in last season’s Six Nations, and that gives them the edge according to Dusautoir.
“The rivalry between us has existed for decades,” said the Toulouse back-row forward.
“It is the derby of the Six Nations and winning this match is as important for them as it is for us.
“They are favourites since they have beaten us in our last two confrontations but we remain determined to go and do something special at Twickenham.”
With both teams having beefed up their packs for the match, it will not be a game for the faint-hearted at HQ.
“They are still a very physical team and to beat them, we must rise to this challenge,” added Dusautoir.
France’s scrum will come under intense pressure like it did the last time the teams met.
England cleaned up in that department, which laid the foundations for an ultimately comfortable 24-13 victory at the Stade de France.
Sale and Les Bleus prop Lionel Faure admits his team have a score to settle.
“It isn’t necessarily revenge but we would like to show them that the penalties given against us in the scrum weren’t entirely justified,” Faure said.
“We were penalised so much in this department (in the last Six Nations) and we were in a negative spiral that was above all a mental thing.
“It was the start of the Six Nations and the start for a number of players in the France team. We didn’t know each other and it was difficult to take.
“We succeeded in raising the bar in November though.”