Eddie Jones’ men head into the last eight of the Rugby World Cup after a comfortable 39-10 victory over Argentina last weekend.
Next up? An Anglo-French duel with the reward being the top spot in pool C. Yet, here’s where our England vs France predictions provide a twist.
A defeat against France would mean that the Roses would avoid the reigning champions, New Zealand, at least until the final itself.
So, will Jones rotate his squad and enforce tactics, or is a win truly the only thing on the Aussie’s mind?
Our forecast envisages a narrow defeat to the French, one that the likes of George Ford and co might not be so teary-eyed about.
While you’re at it, take a read of our 2019 Rugby World Cup predictions to find out where exactly we forecast England to finish in this tournament, loss or not.
But first things first…
England vs France Predictions
Jones and co have quite the conundrum on hand.
Either tarnish their unbeaten record in this year’s tournament and avoid the Kiwis or continue on their winning ways and try their luck and skill against the All Blacks.
It’s a fate that lies in the hands of an England team that were able to easily sweep away the Argentinians while fielding a heavily-rotated squad.
Indeed, a comfortable 39-10 victory at the Tokyo Stadium was simply another notch on the Rose’s rise to becoming tournament contenders.
And largely thanks to the dismissal of Tomas Lavanini who was sent off for a high challenge on Owen Farrell’s jaw.
It seemed as if that particular setback led to Argentina’s floodgates being left open, and from there on, England began to rack up the points.
From Fords’ superb speed to Tom Curry’s attacking creativity, the Pumas were simply out of their depth – and a man down – against an in-form England side.
And yet there were enough defensive lapses that suggest that our England vs France predictions might not be too far off from the events that may unfold this Saturday.
What’s more, if France’s attacking verve is anything up to the standard they displayed against Tonga, a narrow win might not be so far-fetched after all.
Sure, the Tongans put up a great fight. And they were aided by an unstable French backline. But, the power and skill of Alivereti Raka and Damian Penaud proved that individual brilliance could be the key to a win for Steve Jackson’s men.
The pair showed their quality as strike runners. Alongside Antoine Dupont, the liveliness and quick-thinking could pose a problem for an England defence that hasn’t altogether been there.
Fortunately, if things do end in the favour of the French, the consequences won’t be so bad for the Roses, hence our betting-worthy projections.
England vs France Head To Head
The head-to-head stats provide definitely bolster our England vs France predictions.
Given that victories in the last five fixtures in this tie have been shared between the two teams, another close game seems to be on the cards.
Indeed, the most recent clash was very one-sided in favour of the English. Yet, since then, France’s attack has looked more convincing, though their defence is more suspect.
A repeat of that 44-8 win for the Roses in early February isn’t expected. Instead, what we’re forecasting is a closely-matched game, where a defeat won’t cost Jones any lost sleep.
England Team News
“At this stage, I’ll be looking to pick our best 23. Now, our best 23 may be different from your best 23.”
Which means that wholesale changes are expected to be made by Jones.
Among those in the squad who are likely to be rested for this game are Billy Vunipola who is still managing an ankle injury he picked up against Argentina.
Meanwhile, his brother Mako Vunipola is expected to take his place in the team fielded against France.
Indeed, the likes of Jack Nowells and Henry Slade may also feature – both players in need of game-time.
Whereas more talismanic players like Ford and Farrell could also be watching on from the sidelines. Considering that it makes no sense to feature players that haven’t had a single minutes worth of rest – Manu Tuilagi, Elliot Daly, and Joe Marler also part of that contingent – the front-line lieutenants are all expected to be watching on from the sidelines
France Team News
An injury-hit France may also be forced into making changes to the squad if they are to emerge as winners this Saturday.
Especially considering that they’re without fullback Thomas Ramos and hooker Peato Mauvaka for the rest of the tournament.
Other names on the injury list include Dupont who is nursing a minor knock to the back. Fortunately, there are plenty of players waiting to be integrated, who have proven to be just as good.
From scrumhalf Baptiste Serin who was a force to be reckoned with against the Americans, to Romain Ntamack, the young prodigy, France will test England’s backline.
England vs France Betting Tips
It seems as if the betting tipsters have been intrigued by our England vs France predictions.
Certainly so, as the French are wagering as an interesting 9/2 pick, with the Roses operating as 9/50 odds-on favourites.
The chances about a draw instead, aren’t too appealing, tipped at odds of 26/1 in our England vs France match bets
All in all, a narrow victory for France could be suited to both parties; England avoid the All Blacks, and the French will head into a clash with Wales with more verve and motivation.