England made a huge statement with their victory over the Six Nations champions Ireland and Simon Mail previews their second match as they host France at Twickenham...
"England's recent record against them at Twickenham is strong with wins in their last six games at home to France stretching back to 2007."
England v France
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England overwhelm Ireland in Dublin
England stunned Grand Slam champions Ireland on the opening weekend after a 32-20 victory in Dublin which upset the odds and form book. Eddie Jones' side are the new favourites for the Six Nations after arguably their best performance during the Australian's tenure.
Joe Schmidt's Ireland were being talked up as World Cup winners heading into the Six Nations after a brilliant run of form which included victory over New Zealand. But England bullied their opponents with a performance of immense physicality and power as they clinched a bonus point victory. After a year to forget in 2018, it appears England have their confidence back and could be ready to peak in time for the World Cup in Japan.
There were so many outstanding displays in the England team with Henry Slade scoring twice and Jonny May adding yet another try in an exceptional performance. Owen Farrell led by example and England's forwards were in bruising form as Mako Vunipola made 23 tackles on his own. The pendulum swings now though with last weekend's underdogs firmly established as favourites with expectations soaring once again.
Jones makes two changes from the team which defeated Ireland with Courtney Lawes coming into the second row to replace Maro Itoje after the Saracens forward suffered a knee ligament injury in Dublin. Chris Ashton also earns a place in the side with the winger, who was brought back into the international fold last year, coming in for Jack Nowell.
France throw away victory against Wales
France appeared to be heading for a win over Wales on the opening night after surging into a 16-0 half-time lead. But their ability to veer from one extreme to the other was all too evident in a dire second half. Huge blunders from Yoann Huget and Sebastien Vahaamahina handed tries on a plate to George North as France were beaten 24-19.
Head coach Jacques Brunel has made six changes for the match with Mathieu Bastareaud and Geoffrey Doumayrou brought into the midfield. Gael Fikou comes into the side on the wing with Huget switching to full-back. Powerful prop Demba Bamba comes into the front row while lock Felix Lambey is selected with both forwards making their first Test starts.
Home victory looks inevitable
England have won two and lost two of the last four meetings against France although both of the defeats came in Paris. Their recent record against them at Twickenham is strong with wins in their last six games at home to France stretching back to 2007. With France struggling badly away from home, it is difficult to make any case for them pulling off a victory this weekend.
The handicap mark is pitched at 13 points but a better bet could be to back England to cover a seven point second-half handicap. France capitulated after the break against Wales and it is easy to envisage Les Bleus losing their discipline and spirit as the match progresses. England have game breakers such as Nowell and Nathan Hughes to bring off the bench which should help see them pull clear in the closing stages.
Jonny May has been in superb form for England and the winger is worth backing to score this weekend. The Leicester back produced a superb finish after just 95 seconds in Ireland last weekend. This has taken his scoring run to nine tries in the last 11 matches for England. It includes scoring against France in last season's match and with May in the best form of his career he is a strong bet to cross the line again at Twickenham.
Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster
P/L 2018-19 season