Malins starts for England as Daly benched for France Six Nations clash

London (AFP) –


Max Malins is set to make his first England start after being named at full-back in place of Elliot Daly for the Six Nations clash with France at Twickenham on Saturday.

In other changes to the England side beaten 40-24 by Wales in the last round, coach Eddie Jones has moved lock Charlie Ewels off the bench at the expense of Jonny Hill, with Luke Cowan-Dickie starting at hooker in place of Jamie George.

Daly, George and Hill are all on the bench.

Daly, capped 50 times by England, has been Jones' first-choice full-back since 2018.

But he has now been ousted from the starting XV by the in-form Malins, who is currently on loan to Bristol from Saracens, where Daly plays.

The 24-year-old Malins won the first of his six caps off the bench against Georgia in November and Jones, after naming his team on Thursday, told reporters: "He's really impressed us since he's been in the squad.

"He's got a good kick-return game, a good feeling for the game, brings pace on to the ball and particularly playing against a team like France, who are the highest-kicking and longest-kicking in the world, the full-back is pretty busy and so he will have a big role for us."

Malins will be alongside right wing Anthony Watson, who will be winning the 50th England cap of a career blighted by injuries either side of England's run to the 2019 World Cup final in Japan.

"I've never seen a player work so hard," said Jones of Watson.

"He's come back, he's close to his best and I think his 50th game will be his best game."

- 'Disappointed' -

George is on the bench for the second time in the 2021 Six Nations after making way for Cowan-Dickie in the win over Italy.

Defeat by Wales effectively ended England's bid to retain their Six Nations title, given they also lost their tournament opener to Scotland.

They face a France side bidding for their first Grand Slam since 2010.

The French have played just two matches after their fixture with Scotland was postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak in Les Bleus' camp.

"We are of course disappointed that we can't defend the championship, but that makes this an even more important game," said Jones. "We want to show what we are capable of."

England will need to be particularly wary of France scrum-half Antoine Dupont, who has been described as the "best scrum-half in the world" by England counterpart Ben Youngs.

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

"We'd like him (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 only edged out a second-string France in sudden death extra-time when the teams last met in the Autumn Nations Cup final at Twickenham and Jones said he had been impressed by their "tactical discipline".

"They kick long and then create opportunities to attack off their line-out in your 50 (half)," he added.

"They've got some special talents in Dupont and they are able to score points and defensively they are pretty good."

England (15-1)

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

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

Coach: Eddie Jones (AUS)