Nathan Hughes says England can exploit France's static pack

7 March 2018, 12:27

England plan to overwhelm France's lack of mobility in their pack to build an unassailable lead in Paris, says Nathan Hughes.

Eddie Jones' side will aim to revitalise their Six Nations title defence following a comprehensive loss to Scotland in which they were the team on the wrong end of an early deficit.

France's customary giant presence up front comes at a cost to manoeuvrability and conditioning, which England see as a weakness to be exploited, according to Hughes.

"Our mentality this week is to have a big start. France have some big boys and if we can move them around early in the game, that will be a big bonus for us," he said.

"We need to keep the scoreboard ticking and create a big mountain for them to climb, so it will be quite hard for them to come back.

"So we need to focus on that big start and we keep talking about that for this weekend."

England were confronted with a hefty deficit of their own after falling 22-6 behind at half time of the Calcutta Cup showdown at Murrayfield.

Scotland's ambition in attack was matched by their dominance at the breakdown and Hughes accepts that adjustments must be made more swiftly when confronted by unforeseen challenges in the future.

"We recognised it too late and had left ourselves with a big mountain to climb. A 22-6 deficit is a big score to catch up in Test rugby," Hughes said.

"We've identified that we need to see what's happening there and then and not wait for the break. By the time you wait for the break it's too late.

"When we know things aren't going our way, we need to pull it together. We talked about starting big, but we allowed Scotland to do that and by the time we started playing it was too late to get momentum.

"As a group we are tough on ourselves and we can't just accept things. We have to be tough and everyone is looking forward to France."

Murrayfield was Hughes' international comeback after eight weeks out with knee ligament damage.

"I'll be better now that I have minutes under my belt after a long injury," Hughes said.

"I have been in camp for a month so my body has got used to it now and I've got a lot of minutes in the legs. I'm ready to go."