Max Malins ousts Elliot Daly to make first England start at fullback

Eddie Jones makes three changes for Saturday’s clash against France at Twickenham

Max Malins will make his first England start in Saturday’s Six Nations game against France at Twickenham. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Max Malins will make his first England start in Saturday’s Six Nations game against France at Twickenham. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Max Malins has been promised a hectic full debut after ousting Elliot Daly for England’s Six Nations clash with France at Twickenham on Saturday (kick-off 4.45pm).

Daly has been dropped for the first time having started 30 of the last 34 Tests at fullback, only missing out when injured and for one of the four warm-up games for the 2019 World Cup.

The 28-year-old has been a mainstay of Eddie Jones’s England, but has paid the price for his poor form in a struggling side that surrendered their title with two rounds to spare.

Although showing greater intent in attack during the 40-24 defeat by Wales, his 50th cap was also notable for several errors including a lapse in concentration that enabled Kieran Hardy to touch down.

In comes his Saracens team-mate Malins, who has been torching defences during a successful loan spell at Bristol and after six appearances as a replacement makes his first England start.

Jones predicts he will face an aerial bombardment against Grand Slam-chasing France on Saturday.

“Max has really impressed us since he’s been in the squad after starting with us last autumn,” Jones said.

“He’s got a good kick-return game, a good feeling for the game and brings pace on to the ball.

“Particularly playing against a team like France, who are the highest kicking and longest kicking in the world, the fullback is pretty busy and so he will have a big role for us.”

Daly is one of two Lions to have been axed with Jamie George finding himself on the bench for the second time in this Championship having also been dropped for the round two victory over Italy.

Luke Cowan-Dickie’s powerful carrying caught the eye against the Azzurri and he now has the chance to show he can make a similar impact against tournament favourites France.

The last of three changes to the starting XV that fell at the Principality Stadium sees Charlie Ewels replace Jonny Hill in the secondrow.

Centre Ollie Lawrence is present on the bench in his first appearance since being dropped after the Calcutta Cup defeat to Scotland, while wing Anthony Watson wins his 50th cap.

“There has been no change to our selection policy, it’s the best 23, but the process we’re going through is that we are transitioning the team,” Jones said.

“I’ve never seen a player work so hard as Anthony. He had a difficult injury period, went to the World Cup, did exceedingly well for us at the World Cup and then went through another injury period.

“He’s come back, he’s close to his best and I think his 50th game will be his best game.”

Among England’s aims at Twickenham will be shutting down scrumhalf Antoine Dupont, the dynamo at the heart of France’s revival.

“Our defence around the ruck has got to be good, it has got to be tight,” Jones said.

“We’d like Dupont to have a tidy game, do all the simple things well, but not any of the special things. If we can keep him in a little box, then it will be a good result for us.”

ENGLAND: Max Malins; Anthony Watson, Henry Slade, Owen Farrell (capt), Jonny May; George Ford, Ben Youngs ; Mako Vunipola, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Kyle Sinckler; Maro Itoje, Charlie Ewels; Mark Wilson, Tom Curry, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: Jamie George, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, Jonny Hill, Ben Earl, Dan Robson, Ollie Lawrence, Elliot Daly.

FRANCE: Brice Dulin; Teddy Thomas, Virimi Vakatawa, Gael Fickou, Damian Penaud; Matthieu Jalibert, Antoine Dupont; Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand, Mohamed Haouas; Romain Taofifenua, Paul Willemse; Dylan Cretin, Charles Ollivon (capt), Gregory Alldritt.

Replacements: Camille Chat, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Dorian Aldegheri, Cyril Cazeaux, Cameron Woki, Anthony Jelonch, Baptiste Serin, Romain Ntamack.

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