England vs France team news: Geoff Parling starts in only change as Dave Attwood dropped from Six Nations matchday squad

Attwood doesn't even make the bench as Stuart Lancaster has preferred Nick Easter to cover the second-row

Duncan Bech
Thursday 19 March 2015 10:53
Comments
Geoff Parling starts for England
Geoff Parling starts for England

England have promoted Geoff Parling to the second row and recalled Nick Easter to the bench for Saturday's decisive RBS Six Nations clash with France at Twickenham.

The solitary change to the starting XV that toppled Scotland 25-13 last weekend sees Parling replace Dave Attwood, who has been dropped from the 23 altogether.

Instead, head coach Stuart Lancaster has looked to Easter to provide lock cover among the replacements as England aim to clinch a first Championship since 2011.

"Geoff did well off the bench against Scotland and now that he has got some games under his belt we feel it is the right time to start him and use his experience and quality in the starting line-up," Lancaster said.

"The same goes for Nick Easter, who has really impressed in camp and in his appearances off the bench.

"Nick is a quality ball carrier and great defender - things we feel we'll need in the latter stages of the game."

England were delighted by Parling's forceful 30-minute shift from the bench against Scotland, so the Test British and Irish Lion returns and he will replace lock partner Courtney Lawes in running the line-out.

Attwood has started all four matches of the tournament but misses out on the final instalment with Lancaster believing the street-wise Easter is a better option to reinforce the final push for silverware.

Tom Youngs was strongly praised by Lancaster following his substitute display at Twickenham last Saturday, but Dylan Hartley has held off the challenge from his rival and continues at hooker.

The backline remains unchanged and now has a settled look to it with inside centre providing the only real question mark.

Luther Burrell continues at 12 knowing that had Brad Barritt not been stricken by a high ankle sprain, his place in the starting XV would have been in doubt and the Northampton midfielder needs to impress against France.

Tighthead prop Dan Cole wins his 50th cap in a front row that has been unchanged throughout the Six Nations.

"It's a great achievement for Dan to win his 50th cap, especially coming back from his injury last year. He is one of the cornerstones of our squad and we all wish him all the best," Lancaster said.

England prop Dan Cole will make his 50th appearance

Bookmakers view England as favourites to be crowned 2015 Six Nations champions on a nerve-shredding day of staggered kick-offs that conclude at Twickenham.

Wales and Ireland are also in contention - they visit Rome and Edinburgh respectively - but it is the Red Rose who top the table courtesy of a points cushion of plus four.

For a third successive year the outcome is set to be decided by points difference and with their showdown against the typically unpredictable French closing the Championship, it is the 2015 World Cup hosts who will know exactly what target they must chase down.

"Finishing off the tournament at home is going to be a great occasion," Lancaster said.

"The support against Scotland last week was fantastic and this weekend we really need the crowd to get behind the team and drive them forward in what will be an exciting finale to this year's Championship."

England team to face France in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations match at Twickenham, London, kick-off 5pm:

M Brown (Harlequins); A Watson (Bath), J Joseph (Bath), L Burrell (Northampton), J Nowell (Exeter); G Ford (Bath), B Youngs (Leicester); J Marler (Harlequins), D Hartley (Northampton), D Cole (Leicester), G Parling (Leicester), C Lawes (Northampton), J Haskell (Wasps), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), B Vunipola (Saracens).

Replacements: T Youngs (Leicester), M Vunipola (Saracens), K Brookes (Newcastle), N Easter (Harlequins), T Wood (Northampton), R Wigglesworth (Saracens), D Cipriani (Sale), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester).

NatWest are proud to support Rugby. Current account customers can win exclusive rugby experiences. It’s not who you know, it’s who you bank with. Visit natwest.com/rugbyreward

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in