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Ben Dirs

Your Paris checklist (60)

Fontainebleau – Hello you. Today, Tommy and I have come over all altruistic and decided to share some of our five-and-a-half weeks’ worth of Rugby World Cup experience with those making their way over for the England-France semi-final on Saturday.

Here are some of the key tips we’ve picked up during the course of our grand escapade. Agree or disagree, just don’t bang on about your licence fee.

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Mark Orlovac

England stick with winning formula (40)

Paris – Make a note of the date. It has been quite a momentous day for those of a Red Rose persuasion.

For the first time in almost two years, an England head coach has been able to keep the same starting XV for successive games.

It is an incredible statistic and highlights how injuries and muddled thinking have disrupted the reigning World Cup champions over the last few years.

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Tom Fordyce

Gaga about Paris (57)

Macon, Wednesday, en route to Paris - 400 kilometres down, 400 to go.

At this stage of the trip, with the sunny pitches of the south disappearing in Le Bloggernaut’s dusty wake and the bug-battered bonnet pointing towards the autumnal north, we’d expected to feel as glum as Lemmy in a library.

Instead, our chuggathon up the autoroute has seen the pair of us so sparkly-eyed and perma-smiled that we could pass for aged members of a particularly bad-looking boy-band.

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