Chris Ashton and Courtney Lawes named in England team to take on France in second Six Nations match

Chris Ashton has been selected to start on the wing for England against France on Sunday, as one of two changes to the line-up chosen to face Ireland last weekend.

The other change to that winning side in Dublin is an enforced one, as Courtney Lawes has been picked to partner George Kruis in the second row, in light of the injury to Maro Itoje. Ashton is preferred to Jack Nowell, who is among the replacements.

On the bench, veteran Leicester prop Dan Cole is included, along with Exeter loosehead Ben Moon, while Joe Launchbury fills the void left by Lawes’s promotion to the starting team.

Nathan Hughes, the Wasps No 8, retains his place, which means that his club-mate Brad Shields has been omitted from the match-day 23. The other player to miss the cut is rookie Bath wing Joe Cokanasiga, who is continuing his recovery from a knee injury.

Eddie Jones said: ‘After the Ireland game we have had to refocus and reset. Players have been very good and certainly by Sunday we’ll be at our best.

‘The French are always an interesting side to play against. They are full of talent, they have a lot of unpredictability so it’s hard to prepare tactically against them so we have had a real focus on ourselves.

‘It is unfortunate Maro is injured but he has been rehabbing well so we are hopeful he will be back earlier than maybe first predicted. We have got great depth in the squad so Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes will fill his shoes very well.

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