Six Nations 2015: England make one change for France finale

Leicester Tigers lock Geoff Parling returns to the engine room as England look to win their first title since 2011

The Sport Review staff
By The Sport Review staff

Stuart Lancaster has made one change to his England side to take on France at Twickenham on Saturday.

The England head coach has promoted Leicester Tigers lock Geoff Parling from the bench in place of Dave Attwood, who drops out of the 23, for the RBS 6 Nations championship decider.

The support against Scotland last week was fantastic, and this week we really need the crowd to get behind the team and drive them forward this weekend in what will be an exciting finale to this year’s championship.

Stuart Lancaster

The only change on the bench sees Harlequins forward Nick Easter make a return after missing out in the win against Scotland last week.

Tigers tighthead prop Dan Cole reaches a landmark when he takes to the field for his 50th senior appeaerance for the Red Rose.

England go into the weekend knowing a healthy win against Les Bleus should be enough to land them a first championship win since 2011, but will know exactly what they need to do with their rivals playing earlier in the afternoon.

“Geoff did well off the bench against Scotland and, now that he has got some games under his belt, we feel it is the right time to start him and use his experience and quality in the starting line-up,” Lancaster said.

“The same goes for Nick Easter, who has really impressed in camp and with his appearances off the bench in the second row.

“He is a quality ball carrier and great defender – something we feel we will need in the latter stages of the game.”

England go into the final round of the championship at the top of the table on points difference from Ireland and Wales, who both kick-off earlier on “Super Saturday”.

But France could still land the new Six Nations trophy if Scotland and Italy upset the odds to win, which would then require Phillipe Saint-Andre’s men to win at HQ.

“Finishing off the tournament at home is going to be a great occasion,” Lancaster added.

“The support against Scotland last week was fantastic, and this week we really need the crowd to get behind the team and drive them forward this weekend in what will be an exciting finale to this year’s championship.”

England: Mike Brown (Harlequins); Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs); George Ford (Bath Rugby), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers); Joe Marler (Harlequins), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), James Haskell (Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, captain), Billy Vunipola (Saracens).

Replacements: Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints); Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby).

France: Scott Spedding (Bayonne); Yoann Huget (Toulouse), Gael Fickou (Toulouse), Maxime Mermoz (Toulon), Noa Nakaitaci (Clermont Auvergne); Jules Plisson (Stade Français), Sébastien Tillous-Borde (Toulon); Vincent Debaty (Clermont Auvergne), Guilhem Guirado (Toulon), Nicolas Mas (Montpellier), Alexandre Flanquart (Stade Français), Yoann Maestri (Toulouse), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse, captain), Bernard Le Roux (Racing Métro), Loann Goujon (La Rochelle).

Replacements: Benjamin Kayser (Clermont Auvergne), Rabah Slimani (Stade Français), Uini Atonio (La Rochelle), Romain Taofifénua (Toulon), Damien Chouly (Clermont Auvergne), Rory Kockott (Castres), Rémi Talès (Castres), Mathieu Bastareaud (Toulon).

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)

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