Ludlam starts for England as Saints trio get set to face France

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Lewis Ludlam will once again start for England when they face France in the Guinness Six Nations showdown at Twickenham on Saturday (kick-off 4.45pm).

And there are two other Saints players in the matchday 23, as David Ribbans and Alex Mitchell are both among the replacements.

Ludlam started all of England’s opening three matches, helping them to beat Italy and Wales along the way.

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He has continually impressed on the big stage and keeps his place this weekend.

Lewis Ludlam starts for England againLewis Ludlam starts for England again
Lewis Ludlam starts for England again

Ribbans was at England’s training camp in Brighton last week and he will now make his way onto the bench, along with Mitchell, who has come on against Italy and Wales.

Courtney Lawes is not involved as he was forced to withdraw from the squad earlier this week due to a shoulder injury, which looks set to also sideline him for next weekend’s game against Ireland.

England boss Steve Borthwick said: “We look forward to welcoming a strong France team to Twickenham this weekend in what will undoubtedly be another exciting encounter in this year’s Six Nations competition.

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“Over the last three years France have built a formidable side and with just three games behind us, this England team has an excellent opportunity to test itself against one of the very best teams in the world, as we progress and build on the foundations we have put in place in the short time we have been together.

“The players selected to face our visitors are again a reflection of what I see to be the right balance of personnel for the challenge we face in this game. Marcus Smith starts at fly half and Dave Ribbans returns to the matchday 23.

“Congratulations to Ellis Genge who will captain the side for the first time. Ellis will lead from the front with the sort of dedication and spirit that now rightly typifies this England team.

“I know that a sold-out Twickenham will be in full voice, and that our magnificent supporters will make Saturday a very special occasion with a brilliant atmosphere.”

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England: Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 20 caps); Max Malins (Saracens, 17 caps), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 54 caps), Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby, 10 caps), Anthony Watson (Leicester Tigers, 53 caps); Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 20 caps), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 10 caps); Ellis Genge (c) (Bristol Bears, 46 caps), Jamie George (Saracens, 75 caps), Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 59 caps); Maro Itoje (Saracens, 65 caps), Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 8 caps); Lewis Ludlam (Saints, 17 caps), Jack Willis (Toulouse, 8 caps), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 12 caps).

Replacements: Jack Walker (Harlequins, 2 caps), Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 77 caps), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 98 caps), David Ribbans (Saints, 3 caps), Ben Curry (Sale Sharks, 3 caps), Alex Mitchell (Saints, 3 caps), Owen Farrell (Saracens, 104 caps), Henry Arundell (London Irish, 5 caps).