England v France - Autumn International Series preview
Last Updated: 02/11/12 2:13pm
Sam Tomkins: Set for return to starting line-up and assault on England recrod
Sam Tomkins could become England's all-time leading tryscorer when he makes his return to the international fold against France at Craven Park on Saturday.
The Wigan full-back, who has so far scored 12 tries in 13 appearances for his country, needs just one more to equal the record set by Alf Ellaby in 1935.
He has been brought back into Steve McNamara's 19-man squad after missing England's first clash of the Autumn International Series against Wales while he recovered from a knee injury.
Ryan Hall, who scored twice in last Saturday's 80-12 rout of Wales, needs one more try to reach 150 in his career but the Leeds winger is not completely assured of a place in the starting line-up.
Tom Briscoe could be given a recall meaning McNamara may have to choose whether to drop Hall or Josh Charnley, who ran in four tries on his international debut against Wales.
Other changes to McNamara's squad see Warrington forward Ben Harrison called up to replace the injured Sean O'Loughlin , while there is no place for Rangi Chase who is not yet at full fitness.
France have named a 19-man squad which contains just five non-Catalan Dragons players, with forward Jamal Fakir also absent due to a hamstring injury.
Centre Jean-Philippe Baile is sidelined with a ruptured bicep tendon while prop David Ferriol has retired, meaning skipper Olivier Elima may have to share duties with Mickael Simon, who has recovered from illness, as well as Remi Casty and part-time rookie Romaric Bemba in the front row.
As both England and France have already beaten Wales, Saturday's clash is a dress rehearsal for the final of the series on November 11.
England squad: S Tomkins (Wigan), Z Hardaker (Leeds), R Hall (Leeds), J Charnley (Wigan), K Watkins (Leeds), L Cudjoe (Huddersfield), C Ablett (Leeds), T Briscoe (Hull), K Sinfield (Leeds, capt), R Myler, (Warrington), R Burrow (Leeds), L Mossop (Wigan), B Harrison (Warrington), M McIlorum (Wigan), C Hill (Warrington), G Ellis (Hull), G Hock (Wigan), J Jones-Buchanan (Leeds), A Morley (Warrington).
France squad: (Catalan Dragons unless stated) C Stacul, M Pala, V Duport, K Larroyer, D Cardace, C Soubeyras (Pia), T Bosc, W Barthau, M Simon, O Elima (capt), R Bemba (Carcassonne), K Bentley (Lezignan), M Griffi (Lezignan), E Pelissier, T Gigot (Avignon), R Casty, S Raguin, G Mounis, J Baitieri.
What they said...
England coach Steve McNamara
"It's never dull against the French. They're an extremely proud bunch and the stability that they've got over the last couple of years is going to really help them.
"We've not played them in mid-season for a couple of years, which was partly down to them as well. They wanted a break to regroup and I think they've got that stability now.
"I think it's going to be a pretty fierce French team and it will be in the final regardless of the result at the weekend because they've got some very good players and nearly all of them are from the Catalan Dragons which gives them a bit of an advantage as well."