Lawes ready for physical French

February 22, 2013
Rugby Union - Six Nations - Bet Now at Bet365

England's Courtney Lawes expects the French to try and "bully" his side at Twickenham on Sunday.

Manu Tuilagi returns to the England side for the visit of France, while Dylan Hartley is preferred at hooker to Tom Youngs as head coach Stuart Lancaster has made a few changes to try and cope with France's strengths.

France have lost both of their Six Nations games to date and have made eight changes to their side.

Lawes believes the French will try and "bully" England at Twickenham on Saturday but the Northampton star is confident his side can cope with anything France throw at them.

"You put your body on the line for the team," Lawes said. "I've been put in the team to bring that physicality because the French are going to bring it as well. You can see from their pack and centres they want to try and bully us."

England are 1.28 to secure the win on Saturday, while France are priced at 3.75 to pick up their first win of the tournament.

Lawes will make his first start for England on Saturday, with all 17 of his appearances so far coming from the bench, and will operate in the unfamiliar position of blindside flanker.

Lancaster, however, has no concerns over the 24-year-old’s ability and has backed Lawes to impress in his first England start this weekend.

"It's not a risk putting him at blindside because he's played there a lot for Northampton," said the England coach. "The impact Courtney has made off the bench has been significant. His line-speed and physicality as a defender, his acceleration onto the ball as a carrier, shows me is ready."

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