England Team Named For Six Nations Battle With France

Chris Ashton

Chris Ashton

England's Chris Ashton will start a Six Nations match for the first time in six years against France at Twickenham on Sunday, admitting the thought of such a return had never occurred to him when he was working as a television pundit during last season's championship.

"We have gone for Chris Ashton on the wing; we think he might sneak us a try early in the game", said Jones of the 31-year-old, who has scored 20 tries in 43 Tests. "This week, I'd say my role is becoming less and less significant - and that's the way it should be, because the players are doing more and more".

Itoje was expected to be missing until the final rounds of the tournament but Jones has revealed he might be back sooner than expected from his grade two medial ligament tear.

"We can't wait to play in front of our supporters, I'm sure they will be buoyant by the first-round results and we promise we will play a better game on Sunday", Jones said. Joe Launchbury will fill the vacancy on the bench. "Players have been very good and certainly by Sunday we'll be at our best", Jones said.

France were defeated 24-19 by Wales in Paris in their opening game, after the home side were 16-0 up at halftime.

"He brings us something different that we think is going to be valuable at the start of the game - he's a try poacher". They are full of talent and have a lot of unpredictability.

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England's stunning 32-20 upset victory over Ireland in Dublin came at a cost, as they lost star lock Maro Itoje to injury. Chris Ashton, 13. Henry Slade, 12.

Mathieu Bastareaud has been recalled by France to try to counter the physical threat of Manu Tuilagi.

It was a bold statement by the Australian following a superb all-round show against the Grand Slam champions but captain Owen Farrell agreed.

It is a courageous move selecting Bamba at prop for such a big game ahead of Atonio, who has 32 test caps, especially considering Bamba's only two worldwide appearances were from the bench and he will be up against Mako Vunipola. Jamie George, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. Northampton's Courtney Lawes takes his place alongside George Kruis. Mark Wilson, 7. Tom Curry, 8.

Replacements: L Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), B Moon (Exeter), D Cole (Leicester), J Launchbury (Wasps), N Hughes (Wasps), D Robson (Wasps), G Ford (Leicester), J Nowell (Exeter). Ben Moon, 18. Dan Cole, 19.

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