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Eddie Jones makes two changes in experienced England team to play Wales

Wayne Pivac has also named his side, with George North set to make a 100th appearance for his country.

England flanker Mark Wilson.
England flanker Mark Wilson.
Image: PA

ENGLAND HEAD COACH Eddie Jones has made two changes to his starting XV for Saturday’s Six Nations game against Wales [4.45pm, Virgin Media One, BBC 1].

Mark Wilson comes into the backrow in place of Courtney Lawes, who misses out after picking up an unspecified injury during training this week.  

Wilson started in the opening round defeat to Scotland but dropped out of the squad for the win over Italy.

Jamie George also returns to the starting team, coming in in place of Luke Cowan-Dickie, who drops to the bench.

Otherwise there’s a familiar look to the England lineup, with fullback Elliot Daly set to win his 50th cap.

Jonny May and Anthony Watson continue on the wings, with Owen Farrell captaining the side from inside centre and Henry Slade named at outside centre.

George Ford starts at out-half with Ben Young at scrum-half.

Jamie George comes into the front row alongside Mako Vunipola and Kyle Sinckler, with Maro Itoje and Jonny Hill continuing their partnership in the second row.

Wilson is named at blindside flanker, with Tom Curry at openside and Billy Vunipola at number eight.

On the bench, Leicester Tigers flanker George Martin is in line to make his Test debut.

“Wales is a really special fixture and rivalry,” Eddie Jones said. “There is a long history between the two nations and the game means a lot to both countries.

“We know we’ll be up against a strong Welsh challenge on Saturday, but we’ve worked really hard in training this week and have got a very good team to face it.

“We want to show people what we are capable of, keep building our performances and the best is yet to come from this England team.”

Meanwhile, George North will win his 100th Wales cap at at the Principality Stadium.

At 28 years and 320 days, he will eclipse Australia captain Michael Hooper by four weeks as the youngest player to reach a century of caps for their country.

North and Jonathan Davies form Wales’ centre pairing, having recovered from foot and ankle injuries respectively, while wing Josh Adams returns after serving a two-match ban for breaching coronavirus protocols.

Elsewhere, Liam Williams moves from wing to full-back, replacing Leigh Halfpenny, Kieran Hardy is preferred to Gareth Davies at scrum-half and flanker Josh Navidi also starts.

Halfpenny failed a head injury assessment against Scotland 12 days ago after going off just before half-time.

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has made five changes and one positional switch from the side that won 25-24 at Murrayfield.

It will be Navidi’s first Wales start since the Six Nations game against England at Twickenham almost a year ago, while Hardy has not previously featured in the tournament.

Victory for Wales over England would clinch the Triple Crown and keep Pivac’s team firmly on a Six Nations title course heading into appointments with Italy and France next month.

Pivac said: “Saturday is a great milestone for George. It is a huge achievement at his age and we are looking forward to seeing him in action.

“We’ve had a great two weeks leading into this game and we are looking forward to Saturday.

“We continue to build and we know there is plenty left in us in terms of improvements from the opening two rounds. We want to continue to improve, performance-wise.”

 

England 

15. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 49 caps)

14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 48 caps)

13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 36 caps)

12. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 90 caps) CAPTAIN

11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 63 caps)

10. George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 74 caps)

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9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 106 caps)

1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 64 caps)

2. Jamie George (Saracens, 56 caps)

3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 41 caps)

4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 45 caps)

5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 6 caps)

6. Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 20 caps)

7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 30 caps)

8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 58 caps)

Replacements:

16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 28 caps)
17. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 25 caps)
18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 10 caps)
19. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 18 caps)
20. George Martin (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)
21. Ben Earl (Bristol Bears, 10 caps)
22. Dan Robson (Wasps, 9 caps)
23. Max Malins (Bristol Bears, 5 caps)

Wales 

15. Liam Williams

14. Louis Rees-Zammit

13. George North

12. Jonathan Davies

11. Josh Adams

10. Dan Biggar

9. Kieran Hardy

1. Wyn Jones

2. Ken Owens

3. Tomas Francis

4. Adam Beard

5. Alun Wyn Jones CAPTAIN

6. Josh Navidi

7. Justin Tipuric

8. Taulupe Faletau

Replacements:

16. Elliot Dee
17. Rhodri Jones
18. Leon Brown
19. Cory Hill
20. James Botham
21. Gareth Davies
22. Callum Sheedy
23. Willis Halaholo

Additional reporting by Press Association

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