Old enemies England and France meet in Bolton this weekend both keen to keep their winning record at this World Cup alive.

England started off with a huge win over Samoa in Newcastle last Saturday, while France knocked off Greece in Doncaster on Monday.

Now these traditional rivals will do battle at the University of Bolton Stadium on Saturday afternoon with top spot in Group A up for grabs.

England will be heavy favourites, considering they are at home and as the French have not beaten an English or British outfit since 1990.

The two nations meet last year, where the hosts prevailed 30-10 in Perpignan, and in 2018 where England won 44-6.

They also clashed in the 2017 World Cup, with the English running out 36-6 winners in Perth in another group encounter.

Shaun Wane has rotated his squad for this game with John Bateman, Kai Pearce-Paul, Joe Batchelor, Mikolaj Oledzki, Andy Ackers, Marc Sneyd, and Ryan all set to play.

All seven did not feature against Samoa at St James’ Park.

The likes of Tommy Makinson, Morgan Knowles, Chris Hill and Mike Cooper has been rested for this match.

France were impressive against Greece and are building towards the 2025 World Cup.

They will need to improve to have any chance of matching an in-form and confident English side.

The game in Bolton is headed towards a sellout and the hosts are buoyant after smashing Toa Samoa.

France are expected to go again with Tony Gigot and Arthur Mourgue in the halves, with Morgan Escare at fullback and Alrix da Costa at hooker.

Les Blues have a fully professional team and have enjoyed the involvement of Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson on their coaching staff.

The French have a number of Catalans players in their ranks to face England, including skipper Ben Garcia and Benjamin Julien, Fouad Yaha, and Mikaeal Goudemand.

But it is unlikely going to be enough to topple an English team who are gunning for their first World Cup trophy in 50 years.

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John Davidson
John is a freelance journalist who has been writing about rugby league for the past decade. He covered the 2013 and 2017 World Cups, has appeared on TV and radio, and been published in The I-Paper, The Guardian, The Sun, The Mirror, League Express, Inside Sport magazine and Big League. He writes regularly for Forty-20 magazine, League Weekly and co-hosts the podcasts By the Balls and Six To Go.