SIR CLIVE WOODWARD has insisted that England will not be thinking about mathematical permutations when they tackle France in next Saturday's RBS Six Nations title showdown.
To retain the Six Nations crown, England must win by a minimum seven points at Stade de France and stay ahead of their opponents on overall championship try-count. Eight points and above, and the tries are irrelevant.
They must also hope that Triple Crown-chasing Ireland do not smash Scotland by a half-century or more in Dublin some four hours earlier. England supremo Woodward though, who will announce his starting line-up for the game today, is concentrating simply on victory.
"Our only objective playing against France this weekend is to win, and if we can win and stop France winning a Grand Slam, that is our number one objective," he said. "In terms of scoring more points than that, it doesn't come into the reckoning. That is the whole mindset, and the championship will take care of itself. We just needed a win against Wales, and I believe that the pressure is somewhat off England. I think France are favourites playing at home, but they know that England is the team that they have got to beat.
"Bernard Laporte (French coach) said that the whole of France is looking forward to this game, but I can assure him that the whole of England is looking forward to seeing England play France on Saturday night," he added.
"Our only objective is to beat France, and if we can beat France by a point, then we will be happy. This is about beating France, which is a tough enough assignment anyway.
"This kind of situation gets the juices flowing, and I think that Eng-land do play better when we are up against the bigger sides.
"Playing France when they are going for the Grand Slam is a huge occasion, and I think that as an Englishman, it is the sort of game we want to be involved in."
The main injury concern for Woodward is Sale Sharks flanker Chris Jones, who went off nursing a wrist injury against Wales.
Jones was due to undergo a further scan yesterday, while fly-half Paul Grayson, who missed the Wales clash because of a calf muscle strain, should be fully fit.
It leaves Woodward with an interesting choice at number 10 though, whether to recall the experienced Grayson or retain 22-year-old Bath prospect Olly Barkley, who produced an outstanding display on his first Test match start as England defeated Wales 31-21.
"It was a tough game at the weekend. There were a lot of knocks and bruises, and I have got to get a really accurate update on the injuries of a few players," Woodward said.
"I am pretty clear now of the team that I would like to go with, and it is a team that is geared to beat France.
"You have got to pick your team on who you are playing against, especially when you are playing away from home. But we just need to make sure that everyone comes through.
"I think that the only player we have a real concern about is Chris Jones, but we think that he is going to be okay.
"It has been a long few weeks, and we have just got to get ourselves physically right for what is going to be a huge night in Paris this weekend.
"I keep saying to everyone that rugby at this level is not about long-term planning or development, you just want to win the game and keep the winning momentum going. You have to keep going forward and keep your team moving forward."
England have won on five of the last eight trips to Paris, but their biggest victory margin in the past 12 years was a six-point triumph in 2000.
Since the first France versus England clash 98 years ago, 40 fixtures in the French capital have seen France win 19 and England win 19, with two draws. pIreland's bid to land a first Triple Crown in 19 years has been hit by the loss of in-form flanker Keith Gleeson.
The Leinster openside suffered a fractured arm against Italy on Saturday and will undergo surgery this week, ruling him out of the RBS Six Nations clash with Scotland at Lansdowne Road.
Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan names his team to face the Scots today.