Skipper Hartley ruled out of England trip to France

Dyland Hartley misses England's trip to France due to injury
Dyland Hartley misses England's trip to France due to injury

England skipper Dylan Hartley has been ruled out of England’s crucial RBS Six Nations clash against France in Paris on Saturday.

The Saints captain misses out through injury, and in his absence England will be led by Owen Farrell, who skippers his country for the first time.

“Owen will be very proud to be captain but at the same time he is disappointed for Dylan to miss out through injury,” said head coach Eddie Jones.

“Owen knows the position of captain carries a lot of responsibility.”

Hartley’s Saints team-mate Courtney Lawes keeps his place in the pack, but there are changes following England’s shock defeat at the hands of Scotland at Murrayfield two weeks ago.

Jamie George replaces Hartley at hooker, while full-back Mike Brown has been dropped for the first time under Jones.

Anthony Watson switches to full-back with Elliot Daly returning on the wing, and Worcester’s Ben Te’o replaces Jonathan Joseph at outside centre.

Jones said: “We want a response from the players this week.

“Mike Brown has been excellent for us but he was a little bit off against Scotland and we’ve decided to start Anthony Watson.

“We want to attack a little bit more so Anthony starts at full-back with Elliot Daly on the left and Jonny May right. It’s a great back three for us.”

Prop Mako Vunipola has been named vice-captain.

There are a host of changes among the replacements, with Luke Cowan-Dickie on the bench as back-up to George, while fellow forwards James Haskell, Sam Simmonds and Kyle Sinckler also return to the matchday 23.

France have made one change, with Francois Trinh-Duc coming in for the benched Lionel Beauxis at fly-half.

Teams

France: Bonneval; Fall, Bastareaud, Doumayrou, Grosso; Trinh-Duc, Machenaud; Poirot, Guirado (capt), Slimani, Gabrillagues, Vahaamhina, Lauret, Camara, Tauleigne.Replacements: Pelissie, Priso, Gomes, Taofifenua, Galletier, Couilloud, Beauxis, Fickou.

England: Watson; May, Te’o, Farrell (capt), Daly; Ford, Care; M Vunipola, George, Cole, Launchbury, Itoje, Lawes, Robshaw, Hughes. Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Marler, Sinckler, Haskell, Simmonds, Wigglesworth, Joseph, Brown.