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Lessons England learned in Paris

England's World Cup preparations suffered a setback after they lost the second of their three warm-up matches, going down 25-20 to France in Paris.

Here, Press Association Sport examines the lessons learnt from the defeat.


It was being claimed during the RBS 6 Nations that England could field two packs capable of standing toe-to-toe with the best in the world, now they are unable to produce one. For the second week in a row they were outmuscled in the loose and failed to dominate at the set piece.


England's best players at the Stade de France started on the bench and Lancaster has run out of matches to clarify his thinking in selection. The World Cup opener is four weeks away and there are doubts at hooker, number eight, fly-half and centre. At this stage England would want a settled side and to be building momentum.


It is remarkable that a week out from the August 31 deadline for submitting their World Cup squad, England are still scratching their heads over the grey areas in the 31. They have yet to name the day when they will announce their party for the global showpiece. Four years of building a team, but decisions are to go down to the wire.


Jaco Peyper will take charge of England's opening game against Fiji on September 18 and on the evidence seen at the Stade de France, he is happy to penalise the weaker scrum. The Red Rose set piece is unlikely to come under too much pressure from Fiji, but the hosts must be mindful of the repercussions if it does.


France are shaping up nicely after two games against England, particularly up-front where their big forwards are capable of causing mayhem. The Achilles heal is surely the uncertainty at half-back, though elsewhere behind the scrum they are blessed with dangerous options.


From Belfast Telegraph