France captain Guilhem Guirardo – Dylan Hartley will come out all guns blazing for England
Hartley comes into the game off the back of a dressing down from Eddie Jones after a six-week suspension which took his career aggregate to a blood-curdling total of 60.
Guirado, however, does not anticipate meeting a watered-down version of England's firebrand captain when the two hookers lock horns at Twickenham.
"I know that Dylan is seen as a controversial character in England but I've played against him many times. He will be faithful to himself; he loves to impose himself in a fight," said Guirardo yesterday.
Yannick Bru reckons France will have the edge over England at set pieces
"He's a leader for Eddie Jones. I know that he will be there in the scrummaging and the rucks. We know England are a very efficient side with a direct approach and above all we are aware of the ferocity with which they play the game. We know we must be aggressive in defence and attack."
Hartley's presence in an England front row which includes another player – Joe Marler – who may be rusty after a lay-off gives France a target to aim. Their monster pack, which includes 24st prop Uini Atonio, is primed and ready for a setpiece confrontation they believe they can edge.
"We know that England will be competitive at the scrum on Saturday. When you have a success story with 14 wins successively, that means your set-piece is very reliable so we know it will be a tough game but we are prepared for that," said France forwards coach Yannick Bru.
"The battle in the scrum, when you are French, means a lot of things. I hope Guilhem and his friends in the front row will do the job.
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"There's a special emotion in playing England in our first match, particularly as they beat us in the last game to win the Grand Slam."
There were green shoots from France in the autumn when they ran New Zealand close, going down 24-19 to the world champions, but their Six Nations record is appalling for a country so rich in rugby resources.
France have not finished in the top half of the table since 2011 and stand six places below England in eighth place in the world rankings.
If they slip out of the top eight in this Six Nations, they will find themselves lumped in with two leading countries in their World Cup group when the draw for 2019 is made in May.