France v England, Six Nations 2020: What date and time is Le Crunch, which TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?

Telegraph Sport
Can England knock France back in Paris? - Getty Images Contributor

What is it?

England's opening game of the 2020 Six Nations and it's against France in Paris. This match is affectionately known in rugby circles as 'Le Crunch'.

When is it?

Sunday, February 2.

What time is kick-off?

3pm GMT.

What TV channel is it on?

It's on the BBC. You can also follow all the live action right here with us when this page redirects to our live blog.

What are the current standings?

What is the team news?


Jack Nowell has joined Billy Vunipola on the injured list for the Six Nations.

Nowell finished Exeter's European match against La Rochelle on Saturday but faces an operation to repair a damaged ankle that could prevent him from playing any part in the Championship.

It is the second hammer blow for England who also learned that Vunipola sustained a broken arm while on Champions Cup duty for Saracens on Sunday. It is the fourth time Vunipola has sustained a fracture to one of his arms, robbing England of one of their most potent carriers for the Six Nations.

Seven players from the Premiership and European champions are present in England's 34-man squad for the Six Nations and they will head to a pre-tournament training camp in Portugal with their club futures shrouded in uncertainty.

Joining Nowell and Vunipola in being absent from the 32 players who helped England reach the World Cup final last autumn are Jack Singleton, Mark Wilson, Dan Cole, Henry Slade, Piers Francis, Joe Cokanasiga, Ben Spencer and Ruaridh McConnochie.

Jones has opted against calling up specialist No 8 cover for Vunipola, overlooking Harlequins' Alex Dombrandt and leaving Tom Curry, Lewis Ludlam and Ben Earl to compete for the position.

Earl is among eight uncapped players who travel to Portugal on Thursday with the exciting Saracens flanker joined by hooker Tom Dunn, wing Ollie Thorley, centre Fraser Dingwall, full-back George Furbank, lock Alex Moon, prop Will Stuart and fly-half Jacob Umaga.

Umaga, nephew of former New Zealand captain Tana, is included ahead of Marcus Smith who trained with England in the build-up to the World Cup.


Eddie Jones' France counterpart, Fabien Galthie, has named a 42-man squad, including 19 uncapped players.

The list of international rookies includes Lyon lock Killian Geraci, Clermont Auvergne back-row forward Alexandre Fischer, plus backs Maxime Lucu, Louis Carbonel and Arthur Vincent.

And among a number of established names to miss out are wing Yoann Huget, fly-half Camille Lopez, scrum-half Maxime Machenaud, prop Ribah Slimani and flanker Wenceslas Lauret.

What are Telegraph writers saying?

Dan Schofield on Eddie Jones' 'new' squad

As much as Eddie Jones loves a selection curveball when it comes to his scrum-halves, his cautious conservatism makes Theresa May seem like a revolutionary radical. For the first three years of his reign, Ben Youngs and Danny Care had the No 9 shirt under lock and key. Then Care fell dramatically out of favour and the unlikely figure of Gloucester’s Willi Heinz became the deputy to Youngs, who struggled badly opposite Faf de Klerk in the World Cup final.

A new decade and a new World Cup cycle represented the perfect opportunity for Jones to press the reset button. Dan Robson and Ben Spencer, 27-year-olds who have played a grand total of 28 and 24 minutes of Test rugby under Jones, are in prime form. There are a host of young pretenders who could have also been groomed under Youngs. Instead Jones hit repeat.

Ben Coles on France's new generation

The post-World Cup reboot is a glorious thing - tearing down the mediocrity of the previous cycle, looking to win back the confidence of supporters and then, ideally, actually win a game or two.

Stuart Lancaster and Eddie Jones went through that process in the 2010s with England, naming nine and eight uncapped players respectively in their first squads in charge. Both of those overhauls look remarkably tentative compared to what France are now doing.

Forget a reboot, Fabien Galthie has taken the old machine and set it on fire by naming a whopping 19 new players in his first squad as France head coach.

It leaves Galthie and his impressive collection of assistant coaches - Shaun Edwards, Laurent Labit, William Servat - with a talented, but very raw, group of players.

How did last year's Six Nations finish?

What are the odds?

  • France to win 15/8
  • Draw 25/1
  • England to win 5/9

What's our prediction?

How this finishes is anyone's guess. England will start as favourites but this is a new-look France, under a new-look regime. It's always been said that if someone can somehow harness the raw talent within the French game and channel it, structure it and refine it then they could, and should, be world beaters. A combination of Galthie and Edwards looks like it may do just that, which is worrying for England. This will be close.
Predicted score: France 27 England 33.