France vs England: Another Battle of the 80-Minutes War

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TournamentSix Nations
TimetableSaturday 19th of March at 20:00 GMT
PredictionFrance to Win
OddsFrance to Win @ 1.33
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Every eye in world rugby will be firmly fixed upon this year's France vs England Six Nations 2022 match. This is one of the crucial deciders to see who will claim the title. If France grab this win, they will grab the first Grand Slam since Wales in 2019, but if England should come up trumps, this could leave the door wide open for Ireland to keep France as the bride in waiting. Who do I think will come away from the Stade de France with the bragging rights? Let's take a look at the background, going into this clash.

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Background on France vs England

France have played 108 times since they first met in 1906, and there has been a strong rivalry between the two sides ever since. Let's break down some of the key statistics, to determine if history can give us a clear picture of the potential winner.

RecordEnglandFrance
Wins6041
Total Points17411379
Longest Winning Streak114
Largest Points Scored in a Game5537
Largest Points Difference in a Game3725

In every aspect of these statistics, England seem to be the team to do the business. They have certainly been the dominant force over the years, but then rugby pundits seem to believe that France are the clear favourites. Why is that? Let's take a look at some more recent notions, to see what all the fuss about France is.

Six Nations Results So Far

When I started writing these Six Nations predictions, a lot of what I could base a team's recent form on was the Autumn Internationals, months before. Going into week five, however, we have fantastic data from the first four weeks, so it is worth analysing to get a glimpse of how things may be swaying in one side's favour. Below, I have outlined the current Six Nations 2022 standings and the results from individual matches.

Current Six Nations 2022 Standings

RankingCountryGames PlayedWinsDrawsLossesPoints DifferenceBonus Try PointsTotal Points
1France440056218
2Ireland430184416
3England420217210
4Scotland4202-8210
5Wales4103-2726
6Italy4004-12200

France Results

MatchScoreWinner
France vs Italy37-10France
France vs Ireland30-24France
Scotland vs France17-36France
Wales vs France9-13France

England Results

MatchScoreWinner
Scotland vs England20-17Scotland
Italy vs England0-33England
England vs Wales23-19England
England vs Ireland15-32Ireland

Analysis of Results

Having a look at the above results, it may seem a lot more obvious why France are favourites so far. England have only managed two wins out of four matches so far, which is pitiful compared to the flawless record of their rivals in this year's competition. History may paint a different story, but I feel a team is only as good as their last game - a 17-point loss against Ireland weighing heavily on English minds.

Performance in Last Year's Six Nations 2021

Recent form may be questioned, however, given that France ended up in second place in the Six Nations 2021 after a 23-20 loss to England due to a late try from Maro Itoje. You would be forgiven, then, for thinking this could still go England's way.

How Players Have Scored in the Six Nations 2022 So Far

One of my favourite things to analyse, when writing my predictions, is how teams are able to stick points on the board, going on previous matches. I have outlined, below, how both France and England have accumulated their points in the first four weeks.

France Players' Points

PlayerNumber of TriesNumber of ConversionsNumber of PenaltiesNumber of Drop GoalsTotal Points
Melvyn Jaminet0710044
Damian Penaud300015
Gabin Villière300015
Gaël Fickou200010
Cyril Baille10005
Jonathan Danty10005
Antoine Dupont10005
Anthony Jelonch10005
Yoram Moefana10005
Paul Willemse10005
Romain Ntamack01002
Total148100116

England Players' Points

PlayerNumber of TriesNumber of ConversionsNumber of PenaltiesNumber of Drop GoalsTotal Points
Marcus Smith2415063
Jamie George200010
Elliot Daly10005
Alex Dombrandt10005
Kyle Sinckler10005
Total7415088

Analysis of Points Scoring

Even with France scoring relatively fewer points in their week-four game against Wales, compared to their first three outings in the Six Nations 2022, they are still very much ahead on points: 116 to 88. Some may argue that England showed impressive form in their last game, with Marcus Smith managing to find the posts five times in a game where the English were a man down for almost the whole 80 minutes, but the statistics still do not show the same level of consistency for totting up points on the scoreboard which France have shown throughout the competition. Will this make a difference? I believe so. England always have the odd game where they truly showcase their quality, like their game against New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup, but they have a tendency to drop off. France, on the other hand, are the opposite, in the sense that they are more likely to perform cosistently and rarely disappoint their fans. I think these statistics highlight that point and show that France are definitely going to perform, whether England mentally show up to the game or not.

The 16th Man: The Effect of the Home Crowd at the Stade de France

Playing at the Stade de France will give France the perfect conditions to complete their Six Nations Grand Slam pursuit. Everything is going their way, and the fans will surely be giving the visitors hell in the stadium. If England, foolishly, are expecting an atmosphere condusive to their success, they best think again: a French home game is only going to turn up the pressure.

My France vs England Prediction Winner

I am looking forward to this closing game more than I have looked forward to any other game in this year's competition. France will be in high spirits, going into this game, and I believe England will want to round off the series in good form, even despite having no chance of a win in this game providing them a title chance. There is going to be a lot of frenetic action for rugby fans to enjoy, but when the dust settles, I am predicting the home fans to be the ones in best cheer. It is not the prediction I would like to make, but I think the French deserve all of the plaudits in this competition. They have played some of their best rugby in a long while, and I can see them securing the win in fine style.

Steven Brown - Rugby Coach and Writer

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This prediction was written by Steven Brown.

Steven grew up in the football-mad town of Cannock, Staffordshire, in the UK, but he was introduced to rugby at the age of 11. He was a keen player in his youth, and went on to set up a successful sports agency, working with rugby stars such as Leicester legend and England captain, Martin Corry.

Steven’s great love for the game has also led him to exemplary coaching success, having coached men’s and youth teams in the UK, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Malta. Two of his personal highlights from his time coaching came in the form of having six All Blacks lead a one-and-a-half-hour coaching and QA session for an U14s team he had helped to set up and a Best Coaches conference where he had the privilege of talking rugby with a coaching idol of his, Graham Henry. Steven is now pursuing his love of coaching once more, back in the UK.

You can follow Steven Brown on his Linkedin.

France to Win