Updated: Thursday, 30 January 2014 19:04 | By Agence France-Presse

Nowell and Burrell to make England debuts against France

England are set to give debuts to wing Jack Nowell and centre Luther Burrell in their Six Nations opener against France in Paris on Saturday.  


Nowell and Burrell to make England debuts against France

Jack Nowell (right) plays for Exeter Chiefs against Toulon on December 14, 2013 at the Mayol stadium in Toulon - by Boris Horvat

Both backs were named in the starting XV announced by coach Stuart Lancaster on Thursday, with Exeter's Nowell called up following injuries to Christian Wade and Marland Yarde and the loss of form of Chris Ashton.

Burrell has impressed for Northampton this season and, with the powerful Manu Tuilagi set to be sidelined for the whole Six Nations, he was included ahead of the fit-again Brad Barritt, who is on the bench.

Gloucester wing Jonny May is in line for only his second cap, and first Six Nations start, after making his debut against Argentina last year.

But scrum-half Danny Care, a veteran of 42 Tests, returns to the starting XV for the first time since playing against Italy in last season's Six Nations.

Meanwhile full-back Mike Brown, fly-half Owen Farrell and inside centre Billy Twelvetrees will look to guide the rookies alongside them.

"Congratulations to Jack and Luther who deserve their chance, as does Jonny starting his first Six Nations game," Lancaster said in a Rugby Football Union (RFU) statement. 

"It's also great to see Brad back in the 23 with his experience and leadership," added Lancaster, looking for the team to go one better than the two runners-up finishes he has overseen in his two previous Six Nations as England coach.

Care, Farrell and Brown have 81 caps between them, but there are only nine Test appearances between the rest of England's backs while, on the bench, there is a lack of a specialist replacement for Farrell, with Saracens full-back Alex Goode set to cover several positions. 

While England's back division has an unfamiliar look, the same eight forwards who starred in a 30-22 defeat by world champions New Zealand at Twickenham in November have been retained for the Stade de France clash.

"We felt the pack went well in the autumn and it's right to leave it unchanged," Lancaster said. 

"But we have some quality players to come on off the bench, including two British and Irish Lions in (hooker) Tom Youngs and (prop) Mako Vunipola. 

"We can't wait for Saturday. We've had a good two weeks and all the players have pushed hard for selection."

Wing Anthony Watson, fly-half George Ford and prop Matt Mullan will travel to Paris with the squad as additional cover.

England, again captained by flanker Chris Robshaw, have won both of their two previous Tests against France under Lancaster.

England team to play France in a Six Nations international at the Stade de France on Saturday (1700GMT kick-off):

England (15-1)

Mike Brown; Jack Nowell, Luther Burrell, Billy Twelvetrees, Jonny May; Owen Farrell, Danny Care; Billy Vunipola, Chris Robshaw (capt), Tom Wood; Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury; Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley, Joe Marler

Replacements: Tom Youngs, Mako Vunipola, Henry Thomas, Dave Attwood, Ben Morgan, Lee Dickson, Brad Barritt, Alex Goode.

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