Nowell impressed through his work-rate and carrying in the 32-20 victory over Ireland but has lost his spot on the right wing to Ashton, who makes his first Championship start since 2013.
“We have gone for Chris Ashton on the wing because we think he might sneak us a try early in the game,” head coach Eddie Jones said.
“We’ve just got a gut feeling he’ll be right for the start and Jack will be right for the end.
“Jack was absolutely outstanding for us against Ireland, absolutely outstanding, so it’s just a different role for him this time.
“He’s got a great work-rate and can fill a number of positions. At the end of the game that work-rate is going to be important.”
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Watch: Eddie Jones explains selection decisions
The second change to the starting XV sees Courtney Lawes partner George Kruis at lock after Maro Itoje was struck down by a knee injury in Dublin. Filling the vacancy on the bench created by Lawes’ promotion is Joe Launchbury.
Itoje was expected to be missing until the final rounds but he could now be back sooner than expected from his grade two medial ligament tear, although Jones declined to reveal whether that would be in time for the February 23 appointment with Wales.
“It’s unfortunate Maro is injured but he has been rehabbing well so we are hopeful he will be back earlier than maybe first predicted,” Jones said.
When asked if he could return in time to face Warren Gatland’s men, Jones replied: “I’m always optimistic. He was almost available for selection this week but he’s not.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 8, 2019
England made a stunning start to their Six Nations title quest by dismantling Ireland against the odds, but Jones views France as unpredictable opponents as illustrated by their defeat to Wales in which a 16-0 half-time lead was surrendered.
“They are a team full of talent. They rely a lot on individual talents, but they’ve got guys that can break the game open,” Jones said.
“We just have to be very well organised and absolutely brutal in our defence. All we worry about is ourselves, getting ourselves organised.
“We’ve had a good look at France and what they can bring to the table, but we just have to be organised in defence and have that relentless attitude to get after them.
“After Dublin we have had to refocus and reset. Players have been very good and certainly by Sunday we’ll be at our best.”
Watch: England train ahead of France game
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