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Watson starts at fullback for England in Paris

8 March 2018

Bath Rugby's Anthony Watson has been named at fullback for England against France on Saturday (kick-off 16:45 GMT), with Club teammate Jonathan Joseph named among the replacements. 

Injury has ruled out captain Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) so Jamie George (Saracens) will replace him at hooker in what is an otherwise unchanged starting forward pack to the one that faced Scotland last month.

Owen Farrell (Saracens) will captain the team with Mako Vunipola (Saracens) named as vice captain.

Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors) will start at outside centre with Elliot Daly (Wasps) returning to the starting XV at left wing. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby) moves from right wing to fullback with Jonny May (Leicester Tigers) switching wings.

There are six changes among the eight finishers including Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Mike Brown (Harlequins), James Haskell (Wasps), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs) and Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins).

Head coach Eddie Jones said: “This game is about the opportunity for the team to move forward and we want a response from the players this week. 

“Against France we want to be brutal and aggressive on the gain line and to play with a great tactical discipline.”

On Farrell captaining the side Jones said: “Owen will be very proud to be captain but at the same time he is disappointed for Dylan to miss out through injury and he knows the position of captain carries a lot of responsibility.”

Jones added on the vice captaincy going to Vunipola: “We need to make sure we have one strong voice among the forward leaders and Mako has been doing some great work behind the scenes and will step up and take that on officially against France."

England team to face France 

15 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby 31 caps)
14 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers 32 caps)
13 Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors 11 caps)
12 Owen Farrell (Saracens 56 caps) (c)
11 Elliot Daly (Wasps 16 caps)
10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers 43 caps)
9 Danny Care (Harlequins 79 caps)
 
1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens 47 caps) (vc) 
2 Jamie George (Saracens 23 caps)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers 80 caps)
4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps 50 caps)
5 Maro Itoje (Saracens 17 caps)
6 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints 64 caps)
7 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins 62 caps)
8 Nathan Hughes (Wasps 13 caps)
 
Replacements 

16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs 4 caps)
17 Joe Marler (Harlequins 54 caps)
18 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins 8 caps)
19 James Haskell (Wasps 75 caps)
20 Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs 5 caps)
21 Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens 29 caps)
22 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby 38 caps)
23 Mike Brown (Harlequins 67 caps)

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