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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019
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Gatland means business as Wales go to Twickenham at full strength

Eddie Jones, meanwhile, has included two debutants in his side for Sunday’s World Cup warm-up.

WARREN GATLAND SAYS his Wales side hope to mimic the intense nature of their World Cup schedule during their back-to-back warm-up games against England, after he named a near full-strength team for Sunday’s meeting at Twickenham [KO 2pm, Sky Sports].

Unlike Joe Schmidt, Gatland has not wrapped his front-liners in cotton wool for the first of the pre-season fixtures, with Alun Wyn Jones set to become his country’s most capped rugby player of all time.

George North and Gareth Anscombe celebrate after the game Anscombe starts for Wales. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The second row, who will win his 126th cap, leads an experienced Welsh outfit against England, with Gatland naming an unchanged backline from the side that clinched the Grand Slam against Ireland in March. 

Gareth Davies and Gareth Anscombe continue their partnership at half-back, with Scarlets duo Hadleigh Parkes and Jonathan Davies paired in midfield. Josh Adams, George North and Liam Williams make up the back three. 

“We have picked a strong-looking team and we are looking forward to seeing how they kick on after a successful couple of campaigns,” Gatland said. 

“Looking at the first two matches, this block replicates what we are doing in the RWC with a six-day turnaround so it’s a good opportunity for us to prepare and mimic that schedule.” 

Meanwhile, Gloucester scrum-half Willi Heinz is to make his England debut after being named in Eddie Jones’ starting XV for Sunday. 

Leicester out-half George Ford will captain the hosts at Twickenham.

Heinz now has a chance to force his way into England’s World Cup squad in a match that takes place just a day before Jones names his 31-man party for Japan.

Ben Youngs, England’s first-choice scrum-half, is on the bench.

Bath wing Ruaridh McConnochie is also set to win his first cap after impressing in the Premiership last season.

Exeter Chiefs v Bath - Gallagher Premiership - Sandy Park Ruaridh McConnochie is set for his debut. Source: Mark Kerton

Elsewhere, left wing Anthony Watson will be making his first appearance for England since damaging his Achilles at the end of the 2018 Six Nations.

There is no place in the matchday 23 for regular captain Owen Farrell, while Piers Francis gains from Ben Te’o's absence from the training squad by winning his fourth cap alongside Henry Slade in midfield. 

Sam Underhill and Tom Curry start in the same back row despite being specialist opensides with Curry packing down at blindside flanker.

The first of two back-to-back matches against Wales sees prop Dan Cole and locks Joe Launchbury and Charlie Ewels all selected.

England:

15. Elliot Daly
14. Ruaridh McConnochie
13. Henry Slade 
12. Piers Francis 
11. Anthony Watson
10. George Ford (captain)
9. Willi Heinz 

1. Ellis Genge
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie 
3. Dan Cole 
4. Joe Launchbury 
5. Charlie Ewels
6. Tom Curry 
7. Sam Underhill 
8. Billy Vunipola.

Replacements:

16. Jack Singleton
17. Joe Marler
18. Harry Williams
19. George Kruis
20. Lewis Ludlam
21. Ben Youngs
22. Joe Marchant
23. Joe Cokanasiga. 

Wales:

15. Liam Williams 
14. George North 
13. Jonathan Davies 
12. Hadleigh Parkes 
11. Josh Adams 
10. Gareth Anscombe 
9. Gareth Davies 

1. Nicky Smith 
2. Ken Owens 
3. Tomas Francis 
4. Adam Beard 
5. Alun Wyn Jones (captain)
6. Aaron Wainwright 
7. Justin Tipuric
8. Ross Moriarty.

Replacements:

16. Elliot Dee
17. Wyn Jones 
18. Dillon Lewis 
19. Jake Ball 
20. Aaron Shingler
21. Tomos Williams
22. Dan Biggar
23. Owen Watkin. 

The42 Rugby Weekly is back as we get ready for next month’s World Cup. Murray, Gavan and Bernard Jackman get us started by looking ahead to this weekend’s opening warm-up game against Italy.


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Ryan Bailey

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