20 Feb 2013

England name unchanged squad for France

11:41 am on 20 February 2013

The head coach of the England rugby team Stuart Lancaster has named an unchanged 23-man squad for the Six Nations clash against a desperate France at Twickenham on Sunday.

The pre-tournament favourites France are in shock at the bottom of the table after defeats in the opening two rounds by Italy and Wales.

No France side has lost its first two Six Nations matches, with the last time 'Les Bleus' suffered back-to-back reverses at the start of the Championship coming in 1982 during the Five Nations era.

Lancaster will select his starting side and eight replacements from the same matchday 23 chosen for the 12-6 victory over Ireland in Dublin on February 10 - a result that left England top of the table and the only side capable of winning a Grand Slam Six Nations.

Wasps No.8 Billy Vunipola had been pressing hard to force his way into the matchday line-up.

But his prospects suffered a setback when he injured his ankle in training.

As a result, Lancaster has opted for the same 23 he fielded at Lansdowne Road.

One change that could happen is at hooker, where New Zealand-born Dylan Hartley has been challenging Tom Youngs, brother of Ben, for the No.2 jersey.