We look ahead to Saturday’s 2024 Guinness Men’s Six Nations match at Groupama Stadium, Lyon with our France vs England prediction and preview.

After below-par openings to this year’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations for France and England, ‘Le Crunch’ has a little more bite to it following last weekend’s results. France found their flair in the second half against Wales and England toppled likely champions Ireland at Twickenham last week.

In the last couple of years, Les Bleus have had the upper hand in this fixture, winning the last two meetings between the sides and they’ll be aiming to win three on the bounce against the English in the Championship for the first time since doing so between 2004 and 2006.

England were certainly fired up last weekend, as they went out to prove pundits and fans wrong by beating a seemingly unstoppable Ireland, and they will need to bring the same intensity that we saw at Twickenham when they travel to Lyon on Saturday.

Against the Irish, much of their motivation will have stemmed from comments from fans and pundits alike, writing England off and suggesting Ireland were Grand Slam champions in waiting.

They won’t need to look far for motivation when they face Les Bleus either, with their record defeat against the French in last year’s tournament still fresh in the memory for many of England’s players and coaching staff.

Fabien Galthié’s side will certainly be feeling a level of pressure going into this final round of fixtures. They are winless at home so far this year (D1 L1) and have never gone through a Six Nations campaign without winning at least once on home soil.

In fact, only once since 1970 have they gone through a campaign without picking up at least one win in the Five or Six Nations (1999, L2).


England and France have been two of the most effective teams at dodging tackles in this year’s Six Nations, recording the best tackle evasion rates of any teams in the Championship (England 23%, France 22%), with France also registering the best dominant carry rate of any team so far this year (34%).

Tackle Evasion Rate Six Nations 2024

Defensively, France boast the best tackle success rate of any team (90%), while England have the best dominant tackle rate, knocking the opposition back from almost one in 10 tackles (9%).

The breakdown could play a key role in deciding the outcome of this match, with France recording the quickest ruck speed so far this year (3.5s). However, England have managed to slow their opponents’ ruck speed down more than any other side (4.6s) and limited Ireland – a team known for their lightning-quick ruck speed – to just 4.2 seconds per ruck last weekend.

It was just the third time since Opta have recorded this data (since 2020) that Ireland had recorded a ruck speed of 4+ seconds in any Test (also vs Samoa & South Africa in 2023).


As good as their work at the defensive ruck is, England have struggled to generate quick ball this year, with their average of 4.4 seconds per attacking ruck the slowest of any nation. They managed to get that number to under four seconds against Ireland, so they are at least moving in the right direction, and will hope to further improve on that again in Lyon on Saturday.

France haven’t been quite as clinical this year as they have in previous campaigns. Although they’ve made the third most line breaks (20, behind Ireland 32 and England 21) they’ve struggled to make them count with only 20% leading to a try, the lowest rate of any team.

Similarly, their offloading has failed to have the impact it has in recent editions. Despite being one of just two teams to have an offload success rate of 80% or better (81.4%, Ireland 81.6%) they’re the only team to see fewer than one in 10 of their offloads end up assisting a line break or a try (8.6%).

Standout Players

Ben Earl has been one of the standout players not just for England, but in the Championship as a whole. He has made the most carries of any player this year (62), and beat the most defenders in the process. His tally of 20 defenders beaten gives him the opportunity to break the record for most defenders beaten by a forward in a single Six Nations campaign, one that is currently held by another Englishman, Billy Vunipola, who beat 25 in 2016.

This French defence doesn’t slip off tackles easily, but most would have said that about Ireland last weekend and despite that, Earl beat eight would-be tacklers in that game – the second most ever by an England forward, again behind Vunipola (nine vs Ireland in 2016).

Six Nations - Defenders Beaten

Earl’s opposite number is no slouch either. Gregory Allditt has been one of the best number 8s in the world for a few years now and once again he’s shown how valuable he is to France with his destructive ball-carrying. He has a dominant carry rate of 67% in the Championship this year – of forwards to carry on 20+ occasions he’s the only one with a rate over 50% – while he also has the best gainline success rate of any player in the Championship (78%).

It is set to be a fascinating battle between the two star back rowers, but who will be able to drag their team over the line on Saturday?

England vs France Prediction

France vs England Prediction Six Nations

The Opta supercomputer makes this quite an even clash, but has France as favourites on home soil to get the job done. It backs them to win 67.6% of match simulations, projecting they win the game 28-20. Do that, and France will win three back-to-back games against England in the Championship for the first time since 2006.

England vs France Lineups

Fabien Galthié has made no changes to his matchday 23 to face England in the final round of the 2024 Six Nations. Nolann Le Garrec impressed against Wales and remains at scrum-half. Thomas Ramos stays at fly-half, after playing the opening three rounds at full-back.

France: Léo Barré; Damian Penaud, Gael Fickou, Nicolas Depoortère, Louis Bielle-Biarrey; Thomas Ramos, Nolann Le Garrec; Cyril Baille, Julian Marchand, Uini Atonio, Thibaud Flament, Emmanuel Meafou, François Cros, Charles Ollivon, Gregory Alldritt.

Replacements: Peato Mauvaka, Sébastien Taofifénua, Georges-Henri Colombe, Romain Taofifénua, Alexandre Roumat, Paul Boudehent, Maxime Lucu, Yoram Moefana

Steve Borthwick has made one change to England’s starting XV to play France in the Six Nations finale.

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso has been ruled out with concussion and so Elliot Daly comes back into the starting team.

England: George Furbank; Tommy Freeman, Henry Slade, Ollie Lawrence, Elliot Daly; George Ford, Alex Mitchell; Ellis Genge, Jamie George, San Cole, Maro Itoje, George Martin, Ollie Chessum, Sam Underhill, Ben Earl.

ReplacementsTheo Dan, Joe Marler, Will Stuart, Ethan Roots, Alex Dombrandt, Danny Care, Marcus Smith, Manu Tuilagi

Other Six Nations Round 5 Fixtures:

Wales vs Italy – Principality Stadium, Cardiff – Saturday 16 March, 14:15 GMT

Ireland vs Scotland – Aviva Stadium, Dublin – 16:45 GMT

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