England train ahead of France’s visit in the Six Nations

England face a fascinating test of the progress they have made under Steve Borthwick as they welcome France to Twickenham for Le Crunch in Round 4 of the Six Nations.

Borthwick’s side have bounced back well from a disheartening opening-round defeat to Scotland with wins over Italy and Wales but Fabien Galthie’s France will be a different proposition altogether entirely. The reigning grand slam champions may have lost to Ireland three weeks ago but are still in contention for the championship and have been one of the top two sides in the world over the past 18 months.

Borthwick has made his boldest team selection call yet by dropping captain Owen Farrell to the bench, with Marcus Smith starting at fly half instead. After abandoning the Smith-Farrell 10-12 axis that Eddie Jones preferred following that loss to Scotland, Farrell has owned the No 10 jersey but his struggles, especially from the kicking tee, means the coach is going in a brave new direction.

Meanwhile France – who are looking for a first win at Twickenham under Galthie – welcome back centre Jonathan Danty from injury in place of Yoram Moefana. Francois Cros also replaces the injured Anthony Jelonch in the back row and suspended prop Mohamed Haouas makes way for Dorian Aldegheri to complete the three changes from the win over Scotland last time out.

Follow live updates from England vs France in the Six Nations, below:


TRY! England 0-5 FRANCE (Thomas Ramos try, 2 minutes)

Harry Latham-Coyle11 March 2023 16:47


England 0-0 France, 1 minute

Two carries and France go to their long kicking game, Romain Ntamack thumping up field.

Freddie Steward charges back, but the ball spills free aftter he is tackled. Gael Fickou scoops it up and France can attack.

Howls from the away fans as an apparent overlap is eschewed. Antoine Dupont goes himself soon after, looking for a back-door offload, but finding only Steward covering.

Harry Latham-Coyle11 March 2023 16:46



Ben O’Keeffe blows his whistle – England vs France is underway!

Harry Latham-Coyle11 March 2023 16:45


England vs France

Marcus Smith will kick things off on the biggest day of his England career so far. France assemble, ready for receipt of the opening skyward hoist.

Harry Latham-Coyle11 March 2023 16:43


England vs France – Match Officials

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (NZR)

ARs: Jaco Peyper (SARU) & Andrea Piardi (FIR)

Harry Latham-Coyle11 March 2023 16:42



Both sides are in matching white anthem jackets, standing proudly as the first notes of “La Marseillaise” sound. Twickenham is full to the brim, the travelling support tunefully making themselves heard.

“God Save the Queen” follows after – it is Crunch time.

Harry Latham-Coyle11 March 2023 16:42


Out they come

Ellis Genge leads England out of the tunnel for the first time as captain, bristling as ever with energy, anger, focus and fire as he strides out after eyeing up the French squad to his right. Antoine Dupont alongside him looks up for it, too, club colleagues Cyril Baille and Julien Marchand right behind him.

Harry Latham-Coyle11 March 2023 16:39


England vs France

France looked very confident yesterday as they went about their work in an extensive final training session on the Twickenham pitch. This is the one unconquered territory for this brilliant young side in their development under Fabien Galthie – and this feels as good a chance as ever for them to end their Twickenham woe.

Harry Latham-Coyle11 March 2023 16:37


England vs France

Marcus Smith was understandably the talk of the town on the train in today – this is a huge opportunity, and test, for the fly half.

One former England centre has a theory about Smith’s elevation to the starting side…

Harry Latham-Coyle11 March 2023 16:35


England vs France

The French team were greeted on to the Twickenham surface earlier by a great roar, indicative of the French predilection for being in your seats early, and a good number of supporters who have hopped across the Channel.

Harry Latham-Coyle11 March 2023 16:32

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