Eddie Jones: 'Owen Farrell must get in the faces of France'

Ireland captain Rory Best says they cannot afford to lose concentration against Scotland

Ireland captain Rory Best says they cannot afford to lose concentration against Scotland

Gone are the days of the annual England-France tête à tête being decided by a couple of headbutts, or sly punches in the chaos of the scrum.

It's got nothing to do with the after-effects of the verbal and physical abuse suffered by the England rugby coach on two train journeys that left him shaken, uncomfortable, and vowing to no longer travel on public transport. You're doing it day in, day out here, we have been here six or seven weeks and there are fantastic players can learn a lot from.

"Owen will be very proud to be captain but at the same time he is disappointed for Dylan to miss out through injury and he knows the position of captain carries a lot of responsibility", added Jones.

England have their own "icon player" in the form of Owen Farrell, the Saracens playmaker and goalkicker who starts as captain for the first time in the absence of the injured Dylan Hartley.

"That's the role he will have to do when he is captain and needs to speak to the referee". The buzzword has been "loyalty", calling on a collective mentality and will to steer their championship campaign back on track after their dismantling in Edinburgh.

This is unchartered territory for England under Jones. Outplayed by Finn Russell in the defeat by Scotland, the way Ford reads the game will be key to how England seek to neutralise a heavyweight French pack and rely on superior fitness to move it around the park.

Jones threatened changes, he stayed true to his word. "Horses for causes", was his take on why Elliot Daly, Anthony Watson and Jonny May were chosen, with Mike Brown dropping out; they are more thoroughbreds. Such was the nature of England's display that there was always going to be some sort of reaction from Jones and it came on Thursday in the team announcement for what, even in round four, is a make-or-break match against France in Paris.

Having never scored four tries in Paris in a Six Nations game - let alone in conditions forecast to resemble a rerouting of the River Seine - it will require a significant release of the shackles from a side which has managed only three in their last two games.

He said: "I don't even know where Ireland are playing".

A former hooker, Dal Maso played 33 times for France starting his global career in that same late 1980s period.

"We are expecting a tough old tussle". Francois Trinh-Duc will be the third different player to start at No. 10 in just four matches after he was promoted in place of Lionel Beauxis, who started against Scotland and Italy.

The noises from Les Bleus' camp are lacking in the usual confidence emanating from a French side. I watched him the other weekend against Italy and he was very destructive.

"When you have a loss like we had, it accelerates and emphasises the need for that to happen". This was not reverse psychology, more an unwitting admission of vulnerability. And no more so than Mathieu Bastareaud. We want him to be like that.

The annual battle amid the organised chaos of the Six Nations means these matches mean everything and nothing.

Australian Jones has transformed England after taking over in the wake of the disastrous 2015 Rugby World Cup when the English hosts failed to advance from their pool.

Jones would not look beyond France when asked about future plans regarding Hartley and the captaincy. And then there is the fixture's legacy.

"There's a fierce rivalry". That you do the things you're talking about.

"You hear those old stories from club rugby when at the kick-off they deliberately kick into touch because they want to scrum you. It is not like that now but it is still an area that will decide how much energy they have got in their game and so we have got to beat them in those areas".

Eddie Jones hasn't been sleeping well for the past few days.

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