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- Hughes targets big start in France
Since their first clash at Stade de France in 1998, England and France have met at the Paris venue on 12 occasions, winning just five times.
The 81,338 capacity stadium is renowned worldwide as a tough place to earn a win, and with Eddie Jones' men set to return there on Saturday, we take a look back on the five England teams who done just that.
19 February 2000
France 9-15 England
Jonny Wilkinson kicked all of England’s 15 points as Clive Woodward’s men hung on in Paris to register their first win in the capital in six years.
In a game with no tries, it was France who looked most likely to score one, after a moment of brilliance from Christophe Dominici set up Thomas Lombard, only for the linesman to deem the final pass forward, disallowing the score.
Whilst opposition place kicker Richard Dourthe was unable to match Wilkinson’s penalty count; successful with three of his five attempts at goal.
Fielding their biggest pack in history at the time, France were given a chance back into the match late on as England’s Danny Grewcock and Austin Healey were both shown yellow cards, but England held on to prevail in Paris.
October 13 2007
France 9-14 England
Seven years later and that man Wilkinson was back at it again, this time adding two penalties and a drop kick to the early score of Josh Lewsey, to send England into the Rugby World Cup final.
It took just two minutes for Lewsey to dot down, after hunting an Andy Gomarsall box-kick all the way down the left flank and up to the French try line.
The ball bobbled horribly for the covering Damien Traille, who was playing out of position at full back for the fixture, and into the arms of Lewsey who barrelled over the Biarritz man and the whitewash for five points.
Lionel Beauxis struck back with two penalties for Les Bleus, giving them a one point lead at the break, but Wilkinson’s boot proved the difference in the second half, condemning France to a semi-final exit, and sending England to their second World Cup final in a row.
February 23 2008
France 13-24 England
England scored two tries through Paul Sackey and Richard Wigglesworth, whilst Jonny Wilkinson notched up 14 points with the boot, to stun France in the Six Nations.
Sackey’s score came about thanks to a thunderous tackle from outside centre Jamie Noon on French fullback Cedric Heymans. The ball was spilled and Sackey duly hacked it into the goal area before pouncing and scoring.
Wilkinson’s conversion and a further penalty was answered by a converted Lionel Nallet try and an additional three points courtesy of Morgan Parra. But a late Wigglesworth score sealed the win in a game where Wilkinson became the all-time leading drop goal scorer in Test match rugby, overtaking the 28 set by Argentina’s Hugo Porta.
March 11 2012
France 22-24 England
A 50 metre try from Manu Tuilagi got England off to the perfect start in Paris, and his effort was quickly followed by a Ben Foden score, giving England a 14-3 lead after just 20 minutes.
Four French penalties and one English penalty brought the home side back within two points, but a solo score from flanker Tom Croft, scything through Les Bleus' back division for what would be his final Test try, handed England the ascendancy.
A late Wesley Fofana try gave France a glimmer of hope, but a last gasp drop goal from Francois Trinh-Duc fell short, giving England a famous away win.
19 March 2016
France 21-31 England
England won their first Grand Slam in 13 years thanks to tries from Danny Care, Dan Cole and Anthony Watson. With the win they became only the third side in history to achieve the feat having played three away games.
It took just 12 minutes for Care to strike, after spotting a gap he sniped from the base of a ruck to sprint unopposed to the line, and was joined by Cole on the score sheet in the first half too - the prop barreling over from short range.
But the crucial score came on 55 minutes when wing Watson collected a fine chip through from replacement scrum half Ben Youngs after capitalising on an explosive run from No 8 Billy Vunipola.
Eddie Jones' men kept a water-tight defence throughout the entire contest, with France's points tally coming solely from the boot of Maxime Machenaud.