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Launchbury to start 6 Nations opener

Joe Launchbury will start England’s opening game of the 6 Nations against France on Saturday.

Wasps’ Launchbury starts in the second row while Matt Mullan will travel as cover. Their clubmates Elliot Daly and Joe Simpson have also been included in the England Saxons side that will play Scotland A on Friday night, with Daly starting at 13 and Simpson named on the bench.

England will field new caps Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints, left) and Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, right) in their RBS 6 Nations opener against France on Saturday as well as Jonny May, who will win his second cap at Stade de France, and Danny Care, starting his first game for England since playing Italy in last year's tournament.

While four of the backline are changed from the team that started against New Zealand, the pack remains unchanged.

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: "We can't wait for Saturday. We've had a good two weeks and all the players have pushed hard for selection.

"We felt the pack went well in the autumn and it's right to leave it unchanged but we have some quality players, including two British Lions in Tom and Mako, to come on."

George Ford (Bath Rugby), Matt Mullan (Wasps) and Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby) will travel as cover.

England (v France, RBS 6 Nations, Stade de France, Saturday, 5pm GMT, live on BBC Sport)

15 Mike Brown (Harlequins, 21 caps)
14 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)
13 Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
12 Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby, 8 caps)
11 Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)
10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 19 caps)
9 Danny Care (Harlequins, 42 caps)
1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 15 caps)
2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints, 50 caps)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 43 caps)
4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 14 caps)
5 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 25 caps)
6 Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 23 caps)
7 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt, 20 caps)
8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 5 caps)

Replacements
16 Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 12 caps)
17 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 10 caps)
18 Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks, 2 caps)
19 Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby, 5 caps)
20 Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, 15 caps)
21 Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints, 12 caps)
22 Brad Barritt (Saracens, 16 caps)
23 Alex Goode (Saracens, 13 caps)

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