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No team experiment

Friday, January 24, 2014

LONDON - Stuart Lancaster refuses to gamble on team selection for England's Six Nations opener against France, despite the dwindling opportunities to assess his options for the 2015 World Cup.

While stability reigns in the forwards, injury and form dictate that a new-look backline will be fielded in Paris on February 1, with fly-half Owen Farrell and full-back Mike Brown the only certainties to start.

Outside centre and the wings are the greatest source of debate, and the uncapped Jack Nowell and Anthony Watson could be installed out wide for the Stade de France showdown.

Only 20 matches remain until England launch their home World Cup at Twickenham on September 18 next year, and while Lancaster is ready to test those he believes are equipped for the task, he will not take any risks.

"The challenge is to get the team ready to try and win the World Cup because ultimately that's what we'll all be judged on," Lancaster said at the Six Nations launch in London.

"You would never approach a game against France, or any Six Nations match, as an experiment because you want to win.

"It's a results-based business. There are no friendlies in international rugby. You can't see a game as a trial. The players have to be ready."

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