Eddie Jones will consider selecting a team designed specifically to topple France after warning his England players that none of them are indispensable.
The trip to Paris offers the chance to rectify the shortcomings exposed by a 25-13 defeat to Scotland with the champions’ NatWest 6 Nations title defence delicately poised.
Rain has been forecast for the Stade de France on Saturday, prompting Jones to predict a ‘slogathon’ against heavyweight opponents who may require a horses for courses approach to selection.
“I am not wedded to anything. No one is indispensable,” Jones said.
“There’s an old story about this old coach who had a bucket of water in his office and he would say ‘come here son, put your hand in this bucket’.
“You put your hand in and take it out and he says ‘what’s happened?’ Your hand creates a hole and as soon as your hand comes out, the hole is filled in.
“No one is indispensable. It’s the same for me – I’m not indispensable. The players understand that.
“They have got to play and perform so who is at 10 and 12 will be done on who we feel is the best for that game.
“Possibly the weather conditions could dictate a horses for courses selection.
“There is very heavy rain forecast for Friday and Saturday and the Stade de France is a heavy pitch anyway.
“With heavy rain it will be even heavier, so it will be a ‘slogathon’. We could pick a team to play a ‘slogathon’.”
Grand Slam-chasing Ireland are the new favourites to win the Six Nations following the loss at Murrayfield, only the second defeat of Jones’ 26 Tests in charge.
Players and management have spent the 10 days since the Calcutta Cup looking to address the frailties in leadership, defence and the breakdown that were illuminated by Scotland, but for all the progress made the result still rankles with Jones.
“Last night I woke up at 4am. I can’t sleep because it annoys me losing a game that we shouldn’t have lost,” Jones said.
“It is usually a thought in my head so I go into the office and start sending texts and emails to various staff members saying ‘what do you think of this?’ Some of them reply straight away.
“You know when I die I have got anxiety. I am being serious. I have coached for 20 years. If I was anxious for 20 years I would be dead.”
Jones insists England continue to head in the right direction despite the setback in Edinburgh.
“You don’t win 24 out of 26 games by doing a lot of things wrong. We do a lot of things right but we just went off course a little bit. We need to just put the ship back on course,” he said.