Sam Burgess
Burgess make his international bow at Twickenham as competition for World Cup places hots up Getty Images

England face France in the pair's first Rugby World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham today.

Where to watch

Kick-off is at 8pm BST on Saturday 15 August. Live coverage is available on Sky Sports HD1 and BBC Radio Five Live. BBC1 will show highlights at 11:40pm.


With the selection deadline looming, Stuart Lancaster and Philippe Saint-Andre will use the first of three World Cup warm-up matches to help whittle down their training group after selecting two experimental sides for the meeting at Twickenham.

England have handed debuts to centres Sam Burgess and Henry Slade, while Calum Clark comes into the back row. All eyes will be on Burgess however, with Lancaster having identified a long-term position for the Bath man his transition from rugby league hero to the pinnacle of union rests on his performance against France.

Tom Wood captains the side in place of Chris Robshaw who, along with the likes Mike Brown and Jonathan Joseph, are omitted with their places all but secure. At fly-half, Owen Farrell can cement his place as the backup to George Ford, with Danny Cipriani ready to pounce on any mistakes.

France have selected a similarly untested team, with just two survivors from the 2011 World Cup final and four from the 90-point Six Nations thriller between the two teams in March. Scrum-half Morgan Parra and prop Nicolas Mas are among the more recognisable names, while Francois Trinh-Duc and Louis Picamoles also have the chance to impress.

Saint-Andre has left 11 of his more recognised faces at the team's training camp, with five of the remaining 36 still to be cut. Even if Les Blues are not united, they are otherwise typically divided.


England: 15. Alex Goode; 14. Anthony Watson; 13. Henry Slade; 12. Sam Burgess; 11. Jonny May; 10. Owen Farrell; 9. Richard Wigglesworth; 1. Mako Vunipola; 2. Rob Webber; 3. Kieran Brookes; 4. George Kruis; 5. Geoff Parling; 6. Tom Wood; 7. Calum Clark; 8. Ben Morgan

Replacements: 16. Luke Cowan-Dickie; 17. Alex Corbisiero; 18. David Wilson; 19. Dave Attwood; 20. James Haskell; 21. Danny Care; 22. Danny Cipriani; 23. Billy Twelvetrees

France: 15.Scott Spedding; 14. Sofiane Guitoune; 13. Remi Lamerat; 12. Alexandre Dumoulin; 11. Brice Dulin; 10. Francois Trinh-Duc; 9. Morgan Parra; 1. Vincent Debaty; 2. Dimitri Szarzewski; 3. Nicolas Mas; 4. Yoann Maestri; 5. Alexandre Flanquart; 6. Yannick Nyanga; 7. Fulgence Ouedraogo; 8.Louis Picamoles.

Replacements: 16. Guilhem Guirado; 17. Xavier Chiocci; 18. Uni Atonio; 19. Sebastien Vahaamahina; 20. Loann Goujon; 21. Rory Kockott; 22. Remi Tales; 23. Gael Fickou.

What the coaches say

Stuart Lancaster: "We are really excited to play our first QBE International at Twickenham and to put into practice some what we have been working on for the last six weeks. The lads are itching to get out and play a match and these games give us a chance to look at a wide range of players and combinations before we narrow down our selection further.

"Tom is one of several leaders in the squad and he captained the team well in Argentina when Chris Robshaw was rested, so this is an ideal opportunity to take the armband at Twickenham against what will be a quality French team. I'm delighted for the new caps and for Ben Morgan, who has worked so hard to get back to fitness following his injury."

Philippe Saint-Andre: "After six weeks of training and being in camp, we need the test of coming to Twickenham to play England. When you have a game against England it's always a huge challenge.

"We're not used to coming to England in August but the traffic was bad like normal and the weather was bad like normal. So on the pitch it will be like normal! Some of the players will be a little bit rusty from both teams, but it will be physical like it always is. I am happy with where we are because the guys have worked very hard and the spirit in the camp is good."