England coach Eddie Jones is hoping to surprise France with the pace of their back three in the upcoming Six Nations clash to be played at Stade de France on Saturday.
Elliot Daly has recovered from ankle and calf injuries to make a return to the England line-up that also sees Mike Brown left out for the first time under Jones with Anthony Watson taking his place and with Jonny May also present, the former Australian boss is hoping to make full use of the swift movement from the back three.
“The three of them are genuinely quick. They have enormous pace but they have got to work together,” Jones said.
“France score a lot of their points through attacking kicks, so we need to counter those and take the opportunities and attack when we get loose ball from them.
“Mike took the news very well, I’ve been really impressed by him. Obviously the players sense selection changes early in the week.
“He’s really given his best, has trained hard and helped Anthony, which is a really good sign for the team.”
Jones has also recalled Ben Te'o over Jonathan Joseph at outside centre and the 58-year-old believes the Worcester Warriors star is better suited considering the sluggish track at Stade de France.
“This was always the plan – we felt we’d need someone a bit bigger and stronger on a slower track at the Stade de France and this is why Ben Te’o starts,” Jones said.
“The French play fairly direct and he’ll enjoying getting a shot on Mathieu Bastareaud early.”
With skipper Dylan Hartley ruled out of the game against France, Owen Farrell has been handed over the reins with Jamie George starting for the red rose side only for the second time. Farrell's Saracens team-mate Mako Vunipola has been named the vice-captain and Jones wants to examine how the players respond to the new challenge in a must-win encounter against France.
“Dylan is not fit enough to be waterboy on Saturday, let’s put it that way. We’ll see how he goes next week. He started running today and we’re obviously hopeful he’s going to be fit (to play against Ireland).
“We are trying to develop a team that’s self-reliant and we are moving along that pathway.
“When you have a loss like we had, it accelerates and emphasises the need for that to happen. That’s what has happened within the team.
“Owen has the respect of the players, he respects the players, he’s a passionate aggressive player and he’ll lead from the front. That’s the expectation.
“It’s not only Owen’s role that has changed, it’s the rest of the players’ roles – they’ve got to support him. It’s a two-way relationship and I’m sure he will have their support.”
Rugby and Art collide at www.redpanda-Sports.com