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Monday 18 December 2017

Stand-in Moody out to wreck France's big night

Lewis Moody will captain England for the first time tonight with one thing on his mind -- ruining France's Grand Slam party.

The Leicester flanker was given the honour for tonight's Paris showdown after Steve Borthwick, who had captained England for 20 consecutive Tests, was ruled out with a knee injury.

England manager Martin Johnson chose Moody ahead of Nick Easter or Mike Tindall because he is an "inspirational figure in the group".

The 31-year-old Moody has vowed to lead from the front as England attempt to deny France a first RBS Six Nations clean sweep since 2004 and end their own difficult championship on a high.

"For me the most important part of being a captain is to play the game the way I do," he said.

"It will not change me. If I need to say something I will do, but there will be no Churchillian speeches.

"All I am bothered about is doing everything I can to win the game."

Louis Deacon replaced Borthwick in the second row while Stade Francais lock Tom Palmer, who last played for England in November 2008, was preferred to Courtney Lawes on the bench.

England began the tournament with a spring in their step and a victory over Wales at Twickenham but there have been few signs of progress since.

Boss Martin Johnson reacted positively to an impotent attacking performance against Scotland. Jonny Wilkinson was dropped for Toby Flood, who is charged with igniting a revamped back division.

"The pressure is on France, they want to win the Grand Slam. This is a huge game for England. Going to Paris is big-time rugby," said Johnson.

FRANCE v ENGLAND, Live RTE 2/BBC1 (KO 7.45)

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