PA England's Marcus Smith.
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Marcus Smith retained in England squad for France Six Nations clash
Their head coach, Steve Borthwick, names his starting XV on Thursday lunchtime.

MARCUS SMITH HAS kept his place in England’s squad for their Six Nations clash with France after being preferred ahead of George Ford.

Ford has been omitted from the 27-man group retained for the Twickenham showdown on Saturday, pointing to Smith continuing as fly-half cover for Owen Farrell from the bench.

Courtney Lawes’ injury curse has struck again after a shoulder issue ruled him out of the penultimate round of the competition.

The Northampton forward’s season had already been hindered by concussion, neck, glute and calf problems.

Head coach Steve Borthwick names his starting XV on Thursday lunchtime.

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