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Six Nations: England-France is title decider - Chabal

RBS Six Nations Championship
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 26 February 2011 Kick-off: 1700 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC HD channel, the Red Button the BBC Sport website; listen on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and local radio; text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles


France forward Sebastien Chabal
Chabal made his international debut against Scotland in March 2000

France forward Sebastien Chabal believes the winner of his side's match against England on 26 February will go on to lift the Six Nations title.

Both teams have won their opening two games and will square up at Twickenham.

"I believe the winner of the next round will win the Six Nations," said the 33-year-old Chabal. "So we will try to do our best and get a result in England.

"We saw them against Italy, they played great rugby, moved the ball and were strong. But Italy didn't play well."

England produced an impressive performance against the Italians at Twickenham, running in eight tries in a 59-13 victory, with Chris Ashton scoring four times.

Martin Johnson's side have scored a total of 85 points with 32 against from their first two games, while France have statistics of 59 points for and 43 points against following their latest victory, a narrow 25-22 success against France in Dublin.

England v Italy highlights

Extended highlights - England 59-13 Italy

"For us the first thing is to be stronger with our forwards, because when they go backwards it will be more difficult for them to move the ball around the pitch," said Chabal, formerly of Sale but now with French club Racing Metro.

"We made too many mistakes against Ireland, we are not full of confidence and sometimes it's quite difficult for us on the pitch," he added.

"We have three days' rest now and we'll join up on Thursday, giving us 10 days to prepare for England. We need a good game plan to beat them."

Chabal could come into contention for a start at Twickenham with France coach Marc Lievremont considering changes to his starting line-up despite retaining the same squad that won in Dublin.

Flanker Julien Bonnaire and lock Julien Pierre are thought to be the players most at risk if Lievremont opts to tinker with his team.

The Tricolores coach began the psychological warfare ahead of the crunch contest by insisting England would be clear favourites at Twickenham.

"I'm already feeling something of a headache looking towards the England match because they are looking very sure of themselves," he said.

"We need to appreciate our win against Ireland and realise that England are very much ahead of everyone else at the moment."



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see also
Johnson hails Ashton's progress
14 Feb 11 |  English
Teams will target Ashton - Cueto
13 Feb 11 |  English
England need to improve - Johnson
13 Feb 11 |  English
England 59-13 Italy
12 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Ireland 22-25 France
13 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
France were lucky - Harinordoquy
13 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations table
10 Aug 06 |  Tables


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