England announce team for Paris showdown
February 15, 2000
England coach Clive Woodward Tuesday named an unchanged team to play France in the Six Nations Championship at the Stade de France, Paris on Saturday.
Woodward kept faith with the same team that defeated Ireland at Twickenham in their opening encounter in the new expanded tournament a fortnight ago.
Most pundits expect the winners of the France v England match to decide who wins this first ever Six Nations tournament with the Celtic nations Scotland, Ireland and Wales all defeated in their opening matches and newcomers Italy considered too inexperienced to pose a real threat despite their win in their opening match with Scotland in Rome.
Woodward seemed to concur with that view when he said: "France have improved since the World Cup.
"Despite thier brilliant win against the All Blacks in the World Cup semi-final that was a one-off looking at their previous form.
"But to go to Wales and do what they did there, to not concede a try (in the 36-3 win) was a very impressive effort.
"It's a very good French team like the ones I used to play against 20 years ago."
Replacements: Iain Balshaw (Bath), Alex King (Wasps), Andy Gomersall (Bedford), Martin Corry (Leicester), Joe Worsley(Wasps), Trevor Woodman (Gloucester), Neil McCarthy (Gloucester)
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September