Same again for England

England laid down a huge marker for the Six Nations crown as they brought Ireland to their knees in Dublin and it is hard to imagine France will do much against the rampant Red Rose at Twickenham on Sunday.

England burst from the blocks

England are strong favourites at 1.14 for this clash, with Les Bleus 5.60 following their second half capitulation against Wales in Paris.

A year has proved a long time for these nations. Last time around the French made home advantage count, coming out 22-16 winners at the Stade de France in a bruising encounter.

They condemned England to their second of three defeats in last season’s Six Nations but it was typically Jekyll and Hyde campaign from the French. They came within a whisker of beating Ireland in their opening game but also lost to Scotland.

French reliably unreliable

Expectations were lowered this season for head coach Jacques Brunel but his team started with a near-faultless 40-minute showing against Warrant Gatland’s Wales, leading 16-0 at  the interval only to collapse in the second half as they went down 24-19.

The performance typified the current French generation, capable of brilliance and ineptitude seemingly in equal measure as their careless use of the ball was underlined in letting Wales in for easy try-scoring moments.

That is the sort of loose play that this England team, on the evidence of the Aviva Stadium, will feast on.

The handicap for this game is set at 12.5 points in favour of France, and England at 1.88 should overcome that.

Red Rose can overpower French flair

There was sheer ferocity in how they met the challenge in Ireland, inflicting a first home defeat in five years on the men in green in this tournament.

But England also had the guile and hunger to turn over the scoreboard regularly. Owen Farrell was supreme in controlling the game and, with five changes from the side that started against Wales, it is hard to imagine the French can quell England’s momentum.

Games between these great nations have historically been tight affairs but, on opening weekend form, England can come through this Test match with clear daylight in their favour.

The home side are 3.25 to win by a margin of 11-20 points and that is the sort of superiority they should impose on the erratic French over 80 minutes.