Thursday, 21 February 2013

England Must be on Their Guard

Mike Brown has warned in-form England to be on their guard when a wounded France outfit visit Twickenham next weekend.

While England have begun their Six Nations campaign with a bang, their rivals from across the Channel offered little more than a whimper in the opening two weekends. A shock defeat in Italy and a home loss to Wales left France's championship hopes in tatters.

England will go into the clash with Les Bleus as hot favourites with the betting Six Nations after they built on December's famous victory over New Zealand with back-to-back wins over Scotland and Ireland.

Despite the gulf in form, Brown is expecting a typically hard-fought match between two teams with great history.

"France haven't had the best of starts, but they're a brilliant team who on their day can beat anyone in the world. Look at how many times they've beaten New Zealand when everyone's written them off, so they'll be a tough, tough test," said the England wing.

France head coach, Philippe Saint-Andre, has made five changes to his squad after his team's dismal start to the competition. Brown believes the travelling party will be determined to set the record straight on English soil.

"They have brilliant players throughout their squad and will be a wounded animal, which makes them very dangerous. But the boys are looking forward to it and hopefully we can do a job," added Brown.

An England win at Twickenham would keep them on course for a second Six Nations title in three years and a first Grand Slam since 2003. Another home match against Italy follows before England finish up against Wales in Cardiff on March 16. 

A victory at the home of last year's Grand Slam champions could well confirm England's status as the best team in the northern hemisphere, regardless of what the rugby odds say.

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