Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Rugby | Six Nations

Graham Rowntree © Action Images

Rowntree ready for ferocious French



England forwards coach Graham Rowntree has told his pack to expect a fierce French onslaught when they meet in the Six Nations at Twickenham on Saturday.

England go into the match as the only team capable of winning the Grand Slam this season whereas France, the pre-tournament favourites, are on a mission to recover from back-to-back defeats – the first time they have lost their opening two games of a Championship season since 1982.

Rowntree expects under pressure France coach Philippe Saint-Andre to restore powerful front-row forward Thomas Domingo to his starting line-up.

"Philippe Saint-Andre is already saying this is their Grand Slam," Rowntree said Tuesday.

"It will change the whole complexion of their Championship if they win at the weekend and the way they will challenge us is through their forward pack.

"There is never a weak French scrum. We are preparing for Domingo. I think he will start.

"We have been watching him play for Clermont. He has been around that set-up for a few years now. He is an incredible scrummager, a compact little unit but technically very good.

"As an outfit, regardless of results, that area of the game is something we always respect with France."

England are likely to field an unchanged side but they do have competition for places across the board, including at loosehead prop where Mako Vunipola, who starred for Saracens in their Premiership win over Exeter last weekend, is challenging incumbent Joe Marler of Harlequins.

Vunipola has so far been used by England as a replacement and Rowntree said: "He played well (against Exeter) didn't he? He has been one of the real breakthrough players of the season so far.

"I am delighted with his progress. He demonstrates the strength we have got in many positions.

"I remember myself as a prop coming on and trying to get up to the pace of the game, trying to make an impact on the game and he does it better than I ever did," former England prop Rowntree added.

"Who we start, it's no bad thing for a person like him to sit on the bench. What I mean by that is he could start, I'm quite comfortable with him starting. It is horses for courses."

England are due to name their 23-man squad later Tuesday with head coach Stuart Lancaster announcing his starting line-up on Thursday, when Saint-Andre is also set to unveil his side.

Shop

The Poisoned Chalice
The Springboks have had several post-isolation coaches, and if they agree on nothing else, they will concur that everyone in the job suffers enormous pressure
R157.00
Coach - Marco Botha
At 34, Heyneke Meyer was fired as head coach of a Super Rugby team for the second time
R114.00
South Africa XV Ball
South Africa XV Ball Now: R119 Was: R200 Format:Sport EquipmentProduct type:SportDelivery:Dispatched within 24 hours (1 working day) This fan ball...
R119.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Sports Talk



Brendan Venter
The price of player development
Not too long ago the Bulls boasted a very strong playing group which dominated Super Rugby....

Tony Johnson
There's nothing like a derby game
The most appealing and worthwhile element of Super Rugby to me, has always been the international...

Brenden Nel
The real problem with referees
Being a referee is tough work. Fans hurling abuse, players and coaches questioning every move you...

Gavin Rich
Plenty of positives from Loftus
The perennial questions about match officiating, particularly the parameters they work within, will...

Super Wrap
SuperWrap: Week 2, 2015
Just the other day pundits thought the Bulls would pretty much walk the South African Super Rugby...