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It’s a big night’ says Woodward

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

"It's a big night for a couple of players who definitely haven't made the final 30 yet," Woodward told zurichpremiership.com.

"Stuart Abbott, it's a huge opportunity for him, and Iain Balshaw will definitely get a run. So it's a massive night and it's interesting talking to these players – the Johnsons and Wilkinsons – they need a game and they need to make sure that they are in good shape in preparation for the World Cup.

"So it is a big night and one we want to win, but England will go to the World Cup with confidence whatever happens on Saturday night."

Abbott and Balshaw could secure their places in Woodward's final 30-man squad with impressive showings against France at Twickenham, especially after the 'second-stringers' went down to Les Bleus by one point in Marseille last week.

"I think we've got to keep our feet on the floor," said Woodward to the official Zurich Premiership website.

"We want to win every game, but they are in preparation for the World Cup. In hindsight now we were disappointed last Saturday but we did learn the right lessons and I've no regrets at all. I could have sent the first XV down to Marseille and got beat, there's no right or wrong here – these are genuine warm-up games."

England's record at Twickenham has been amazing over the past few years, with the 'Men in White' not losing in an official Test match at HQ since the 1999 World Cup, when the All Blacks put one past them – the Kiwis winning 30-16 on October 9.

"With the team we've got out and our record at Twickenham we obviously want to win the game on Saturday," admitted Woodward.

"We're playing France, we've got a full-house and we've got a damn good side out. I think the worry is these guys are so looking forward to playing and a little over-anxious about playing.

"I'm disappointed about a couple of guys not playing – Phil Vickery and Lawrence Dallaglio have got minor injuries. Outside of that we've got a good side."

* Saturday's match at Twickenham kicks-off at 18.00 BST (19.00 France time, 17.00 GMT).


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