International Rugby

France vs. England Rugby: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23: Courtney Lawes of England in action during the RBS Six Nations match between England and France at Twickenham Stadium on February 23, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)
Tom Shaw/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2014

 After coming so close in 2013, England once again will bid to break Wales' hold on the Six Nations this year, with their campaign beginning in French surroundings.

It's a mountain of a climb for Stuart Lancaster's side which, not abnormally, has taken on another experimental twist for the major European tournament.

Philippe Saint-Andre will be hoping Les Bleus have enough about them to gain redemption for last year's loss at Twickenham, as both teams' search for silverware gets off with a bang in Paris.

 

Date: Saturday, February 1

Time: 6 p.m. GMT/1 p.m. ET

Venue: Stade de France, Paris

Viewing Info: BBC One

Stream: BBC Sport website

 

Fresh Beginnings

BAGSHOT, ENGLAND - JANUARY 30:  Jack Nowell (L) and Luther Burrell who will make their England debuts in the match against France pose after the England training session held at Pennyhill Park on January 30, 2014 in Bagshot, England.  (Photo by David Roge
David Rogers/Getty Images

Not for a long time have France and England gone up against one another under such unknown parameters, with Lancaster's experimentation this weekend perhaps at an all-time high.

Luther Burrell and Jack Nowell are both primed for their first international caps, while Jonny May earns just his second, starting on the left flank.

READING, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 08: Jules Plisson of Stade Francais looks on during the Amlin Challenge Cup match between London Irish and Stade Francais Paris at Madejski Stadium on December 8, 2013 in Reading, England. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Jules Plisson has been handed the French reins at fly-half, with Saint-Andre putting a deep amount of faith in the Stade Francais playmaker after not naming a natural No. 10 on his bench.

There's an encouraging sense of a fresh page being turned on this fixture; it merely remains a matter of who responds better to the fresh intake of faces.

 

Key Players to Watch

France: Mathieu Bastareaud

NEW PLYMOUTH, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 22: Mathieu Bastareaud of France offloads against Conrad Smith of the All Blacks during the Third Test Match between the New Zealand All Blacks and France at Yarrow Stadium on June 22, 2013 in New Plymouth, New Zealand.  (
Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

The centres will be the main attraction of this weekend's epic clash in the French capital. The experienced duo of Mathieu Bastareaud and Wesley Fofana take on England's pairing of Billy Twelvetrees and Burrell, who boast just five caps between them, all of which are accounted for by the latter.

Burrell's stopping power in the No. 13 jersey is one of his strongest attributes and undoubtedly one of the reasons why Lancaster has opted for the Northampton Saint ahead of other candidates this weekend.

But what happens when that stopping power meets one of the strongest midfield men in the game? Bastareaud has made it a habit of his to physically bully whoever might be lined up opposite him, and the Toulon centre could thrive if Burrell fails to put a brake on him.

In truth, the 25-year-old battering ram would have given a tough day's outing to anyone thrust into the English No. 13 shirt, but one can bet a hefty amount of ground coverage will be decided in this part of the field.

 

England: Jack Nowell

BAGSHOT, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23:  England new boy Jack Nowell poses for a portrait during an England media session at Pennyhill Park on January 23, 2014 in Bagshot, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Replacing the England mainstay of Chris Ashton, Nowell is set for an almighty baptism through fire this Saturday, with his England debut not likely to have come under more difficult circumstances.

The Exeter Chiefs utility has been seen as a possible international star for some time now, and the journey to potentially doing just that starts at the Stade de France.

Charlie Morgan of Rugby World magazine says that Nowell will go on to earn more than 50 caps for England:

Maxime Medard has been in some fine form with Toulouse this term, while Nowell has failed to consistently produce the goods that many know are within his locker at all times.

That being said, with two such explosive characters set to do battle and neither one looking to yield a step to their counterpart, the 20-year-old England prodigy has a big test in backing up his coach's faith.

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