France captain Thierry Dusautoir, Julien Pierre and Julien Bonnaire take part in their Captain's run in Auckland
France captain Thierry Dusautoir, Julien Pierre and Julien Bonnaire take part in their Captain's run in Auckland. REUTERS

The pick of this weekend's matches sees England face France in their quarter-final at Eden Park.

Both sides have had their share of controversy in this year's tournament, with the French side engulfed with accusations of internal strife and England's extra-curricular activities brought into question.

But England arrive at the quarter-final stage unbeaten, yet so far unconvincing following the pool phase but confident in the knowledge that they have knocked the French out in the semi-finals for the last two tournaments.

For France, wounded after defeat against Tonga in their final group game, Saturday's match presents an opportunity to avenge previous humiliations.

"That's the battle and they will be trying to do the same to us," said England coach Martin Johnson.

Johnson has included both Jonny Wilkinson and Toby Flood in a new-look back-line ahead of Saturday's clash at Eden Park.

Nick Easter, Tom Palmer and Mark Cueto have also been promoted to the starting line-up for Saturday's match. Easter and Palmer come in for James Haskell and Courtney Lawes, while Flood is set to start at inside centre after Mike Tindall failed to recover from injury.

"It's not a gamble, you always put a lot of thought into your selections, no more so than in the quarter-finals of the World Cup," Johnson told a news conference Thursday.

"It's one of our options; we believe we've picked the best team for this particular match."

Wilkinson, England's record points-scorer, will wear the No.10 shirt but Johnson is yet to decide whether the fly-half would retain kicking duties, or if Toby Flood would assume responsibility.

So far at this tournament Wilkinson has converted just nine of his 20 kicks at goal, whereas Flood has landed 10 of 13.

"It is an exciting combination for us," said Johnson. "It gives us Toby's kicking game and his passing game.

"Johnny has had a lot of long kicks and going into a game like this you do not want to be playing against Johnny Wilkinson."

England: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Toby Flood, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Lewis Moody, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Steve Thompson, 1 Matt Stevens.
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 Courtney Lawes, 19 Simon Shaw, 20 James Haskell, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Matt Banahan.

France: 15 Maxime Médard, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Aurélien Rougerie, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Morgan Parra, 9 Dimitri Yachvili, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, 7 Julien Bonnaire, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (c), 5 Lionel Nallet, 4 Pascal Pape, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 William Servat, 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Fabien Barcella, 18 Julien Pierre, 19 Louis Picamoles, 20 Francois Trinh-Duc, 21 David Marty, 22 Cédric Heymans.