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Six Nations: England's Chris Aston expects backlash from 'angry' French at Twickenham

France squandered a 16-0 half-time lead before losing 24-19 to Wales on Saturday

France's Camille Lopez, left, Wenceslas Lauret show their dejection at the end of their loss to Wales in the opening round of the Six Nations. AFP
France's Camille Lopez, left, Wenceslas Lauret show their dejection at the end of their loss to Wales in the opening round of the Six Nations. AFP

England winger Chris Ashton warned his teammates of a French backlash on Sunday as their "angry" opponents look to make up for a defeat by Wales in their Six Nations opener.

France squandered a 16-0 half-time lead before losing 24-19 to Wales on Friday and Ashton said England could expect a fiery reaction when the sides meet at Twickenham in the second round of matches.

"It'll be an angry French team, desperate to make up for the last 20 minutes of that game against Wales," Ashton told reporters. "If we know anything about the French, it's that they love a reaction.

"Their backs are against the wall and we expect nothing less ... they've got to get a win and make up for last week."

France are seeking a first win against England in the Six Nations at Twickenham since 2005 and Ashton expects the meeting to be emotionally charged.

"A lot of their game is based on emotion, but they've got a lot of good players too," the former Toulon player added.

"It's unusual for them to lose like that at home, so there will be repercussions from that which will go beyond emotion. They'll be putting everything into winning."

Scotland prop Allan Dell says he expects a similar physical backlash from Ireland, who will be seeking to restore lost pride after beginning their Six Nations title defence on a losing note.

Scotland host Ireland at Murrayfield on Saturday, a week after they made a winning start to their campaign by beating Italy 33-20 while Ireland lost 32-20 to England in Dublin.

"They were outmuscled," said the 26-year-old Dell of Ireland’s unexpected home loss.

"What normally tends to happens from experience is that if you have been outmuscled at the weekend the emphasis in the build-up to the next game is that you know you can’t have that happening again.

"You would be embarrassed and licking your wounds from that. There will be an aftershock after what England did to Ireland," he told reporters as Scotland began their build-up to the match.

Scotland were always expecting a tough game, regardless of the Irish setback, Dell said.

"Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Rory Best are all very good scrummagers, very disciplined," he said.

“They know when to have a crack, they know when to manipulate a scrum and move players, so it’s going to be a tough thing. Set-piece is going to be a major part of the game I feel.”

Scotland have suffered a setback with prop WP Nel likely to miss the game because of a calf injury, even though he remains with the squad.

"Hopefully we won’t miss WP too much. I’m sure he’ll be in giving us his knowledge in the next few days," Dell said.

Simon Berghan is likely to take his place with Jonny Gray to return from injury in the second row. Scotland will name their team on Thursday.

On the bigger prize ahead, Dell said: "If you want to win the Six Nations you need to win all the games.

"We wouldn’t approach the game in any another way, just wanting to win it. Winning the first game augurs well but Six Nations is a long tournament."

Updated: February 5, 2019 03:21 PM

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