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England make three changes, including giving Max Malins a first Test start

By Liam Heagney

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England have made three changes to their team to play France on Saturday at Twickenham in round four of the Guinness Six Nations following their February 27 24-40 away loss to Wales. Coach Eddie Jones has opted to give Max Malins his first-ever Test level start, while Luke Cowan-Dickie and Charlie Ewels are called into the pack.

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Malins, 24, has so far made all six of his appearances off the bench but he now takes over from the benched Elliot Daly in an otherwise unchanged backline. In the forwards, Cowan-Dickie – a starter in round two versus Italy – takes back the hooking jersey from Jamie George while Ewels is set to make only his second-ever Six Nations start, taking over from the benched Jonny Hill. 

Jones said: “This France game is one we are really looking forward to. We are of course disappointed that we can’t defend the championship, but that makes this an even more important game.

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“We want to show what we are capable of. The squad have competed really hard in training since Sunday. I believe this is the best 23 to really take the game to France and get us on the front foot.”

On the bench, Jones has gone with a five/three forwards/backs split, one more back then he had at his disposal in Cardiff. It sees the uncapped George Martin excluded from the bench and a recall for Ollie Lawrence, the midfielder who hasn’t been involved since his round one start versus Scotland.

The defending champions are currently fourth on the Six Nations table with just six points, eight points behind the leaders Wales and three shy of France who have a game in hand. Ireland, who host the English on March 20 in Dublin, are in third on seven points.    

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ENGLAND (vs France, Saturday)
15. Max Malins (Bristol Bears, 6 caps)
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 49 caps)
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 37 caps)
12. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 91 caps) (C)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 64 caps)
10. George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 75 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 107 caps)
1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 65 caps)
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 29 caps)
3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 42 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 46 caps)
5. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 19 caps)
6. Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 21 caps)
7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 31 caps)
8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 59 caps)
FINISHERS
16. Jamie George (Saracens, 57 caps)
17. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 26 caps)
18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 10 caps)
19. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps)
20. Ben Earl (Bristol Bears, 11 caps)
21. Dan Robson (Wasps, 10 caps)
22. Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors, 4 caps)
23. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 50 caps)

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England make three changes, including giving Max Malins a first Test start

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