Joe Marler
Joe Marler (above) has been replaced by Mako Vunipola for England's decisive showdown in France Getty

England have dropped Joe Marler for their Six Nations Grand Slam decider in France on Saturday (19 March). The Harlequins loose-head prop has been at the centre of much controversy since the 25-21 victory over Wales at Twickenham last weekend after being retrospectively cited for striking opposite number Rob Evans with his forearm.

Marler was also strongly criticised for calling Samson Lee a "gypsy boy" during the first half of that match, but neither offence was eventually deemed punishable by a suspension. He was not the subject of an internal ban either, but will begin the pivotal clash in Paris from the bench as Eddie Jones opts for the sheer power of Mako Vunipola.

England's second change sees Danny Care replace Ben Youngs at scrum-half, despite the latter's impressive performance against Wales. Captain Dylan Hartley is fit to lead the side once more despite being held out of a training session on Tuesday (15 March), while Joe Launchbury and Manu Tuilagi remain among the replacements. Saracens full-back Alex Goode and uncapped Sale hooker Tommy Taylor will travel with the squad as reserves.

"While we are pleased to have already won the championship we don't want to let our foot off the gas," Jones said. "The objective has always been to win every game, to be the most dominant team in Europe, so it's been very important to us to approach this week with the same level of intensity we have shown in previous weeks.

"I'm pleased with how we have prepared and with the focus the squad have shown. You can't underestimate any team in Test match rugby. France are a dangerous team but we go to Paris full of confidence and a hunger to get the win."


France have also made two changes to the underwhelming team that effectively handed England the Six Nations title after losing 29-18 to Scotland at Murrayfield. Both alterations are in the back row, where head coach Guy Noves brings in Loann Goujon and Bernard Le Roux for Wenceslas Lauret and Yacouba Camara. Damien Chouly has been switched to blindside flanker.

England team to face France in Paris

15. Mike Brown, 14. Anthony Watson, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 12. Owen Farrell, 11. Jack Nowell, 10. George Ford, 9. Danny Care; 1. Mako Vunipola, 2. Dylan Hartley, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. George Kruis, 6. Chris Robshaw, 7. James Haskell, 8. Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: 16. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17. Joe Marler, 18. Kieran Brookes, 19. Joe Launchbury, 20. Jack Clifford, 21. Ben Youngs, 22. Manu Tuilagi, 23. Elliot Daly.