The opening weekend of the 6 Nations 2020 rugby championship will see France host England for the Le Crunch at the Stade de France on Sunday 2nd February, 2020 as from 3:00pm (GMT). This game will be live on BBC, FR2, Virgin Media, DMAX, and NBC and it will be officiated by Welsh referee Nigel Owens. England will be looking to put their hands on the trophy that they last won in 2017 while the les Bleus will be looking to mount a solid and successful challenge for the championship that they last won in 2010.
England’s head coach Eddie Jones has guided the Lions to 39 wins out of 51 games at the helm whilst winning two Six Nations titles as well as finishing in 2nd place in the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. There were doubts if the Aussie was the right man for the job but his team’s performances will most probably give him another shot at winning his third 6 Nations Championship as the head coach of the England Rugby Union team. Jones will have a young and talented pool of players with enough exposure at the world stage to choose from and the future looks luminous for the Lions.
Since winning the 6 Nations in 2010, France haven’t been stronger than they currently are and the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter finals game against Wales gave glimpses of the quality and depth in the current squad and what they are capable of. Newly appointed head coach Fabian Galthie will be tasked with moulding and sharpening this French side into serious title contenders. 2020 Six Nations may be too soon to achieve this feat but expect the les Bleus to take their shot at the title considering that they play both England and Ireland at home.
Previous Game Result
France and England’s scheduled 2019 Rugby World Cup game in Japan was cancelled and drawn 0-0 due to safety concerns arising from the threat posed by super Typhoon Hagibis. Prior to that, England had eased to a 44-8 victory over France when these two sides last met in the 2019 Six Nations tournament. The Lions were quick off the mark with Johny May scoring three first-half tries just before the 30-min mark. Henry Slade and Owen Farrell added a try each in addition to a penalty try awarded when Chris Ashton was tackled without the ball while trying to gather just about the French try line. France scored a consolation try via Damian Penaud but it wasn’t enough as they were outmuscled and outclassed by the English side.
Players to Watch
Both these boast the possession of incredibly talented young guns who have made names for themselves at the world stage at a very tender age. Damian Penaud is an example of such raw but polished talented. At only 22, Penaud is already pulling the strings in the les Bleus wing while other players such as 20-year-old fly-half Romain Ntamack and scrum-half Antoine Dupont, who’s just 22, have the world at their feet.
England too have young mercenaries of their own in the form of 2019 best player nominee Tom Curry, who’s just 21, Sam Underhill (23), Maro Itoje (24), and the deadly 21-year-old Joe Cokanasiga who have the ability to hurt any opposition in world rugby right now. The 2020 6 Nations will give this budding side another chance to gel and form a very formidable partnership.
Head to Head
France have played England a total of 105 test matches since 1906 with England winning in 58 occasions. France too have won 40 of those matches with the remaining 7 matches all ending in a stalemate. While playing in France, the host have won 23 matches and lost 27 while drawing twice in 52 outings.
While both sides have shown tremendous improvement in the past couple of years, you can feel England are at a better position right now to stake a claim for the trophy. This is because they have something that France lacks: a strong current team comprising of world class and mature players. Owen Farell, Dan Biggar, and Dane Cole are a perfect example of the cohort of players in their peak playing alongside the juniors making this English side very expansive and deadly.
England to Win.
Prediction: France 23-32 England