How the Bookies See it
- Winner: England 1/7, France 5/1, Draw 25/1 – Paddy Power
- First Try Scorer: Jonny May (ENG) 7/1, Jack Nowell (ENG) 8/1, Virimi Vakatawa (FRA) 10/1 – Boylesports
- First Try Back or Forward; Back 4/11, Forward 2/1, No Try 25/1 - BetVictor
England: Since taking over following the disastrous 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign on home soil, head coach Jones is yet to taste defeat in charge of England. Last year, a first Grand Slam since 2003 was followed by a win over Wales, a 3-0 series victory over the Wallabies in Australia, and four from four in the autumn internationals.
Victories over Fiji, South Africa – their first over the Springboks in a decade - Argentina and Australia towards the backend of 2016 highlights why captain Dylan Hartley is odds-on with many bookmakers to lift the Six Nations trophy aloft come 18th March.
France: Captained by Toulon hooker Guilhem Guirado, Les Bleus finished in a disappointing 5th place in last season’s Six Nations, recording two-point and one-point victories over Italy and Ireland in the opening two rounds.
They then went on to lose their final three games before sharing a two-match summer series against Argentina, ending 2016 with victory over Samoa and defeats to Australia and New Zealand in November. They’ll be looking for more consistency in 2017, starting at the home of English rugby this Saturday afternoon.
England are missing some key personnel through injury, unable to call on the likes of Anthony Watson, Chris Robshaw, Billy and Mako Vunipola, as well as Manu Tuilagi. Number 8 Nathan Hughes will have the sizable task of filling Billy Vunipola’s shoes, with the Wasps man impressing in his Test debut against South Africa in the autumn.
However, the Red Rose have been handed a boost with news forwards James Haskell, Jack Clifford and Joe Marler are all available for selection after injury concerns.
Close eyes will be on 2016 World Player of the Year nominees Maro Itoje – who could pack down at blindside flanker for the first time at Test level - and Owen Farrell. Both men have enjoyed fine seasons at domestic level with Saracens, and are two players to look out for this weekend, as is clubmate Alex Lozowski who could make his international debut from the bench.
Guy Noves’ France haven’t won the Six Nations since 2010, and are 12/1 with SkyBet do so this year. They lost to England at home in Paris last season, and if they are to avenge that defeat and go on to win their first title in seven years, they’ll have to do so without injured Clermont Auvergne centre Wesley Fofana.
Fofana is a loss, but Fijian-born wingers Virimi Vakatawa and Noa Nakaitaci are exciting threats with ball in hand, and are two players to look out for. France may not play an open, expansive game against a potent England backline in the early stages, but if the French pack can provide Nakaitaci with quick ball out wide, he’s a try-scoring threat England must be wary of.
- Sports.net’s top tip: First Try Scorer - Noa Nakaitaci – 12/1 – Boylesports
Please note that odds can fluctuate before kick-off.