‘We owe them one’: Eddie Jones and England are out for revenge against Wales
Defending champions Wales expect a tough challenge at Twickenham
Six Nations round four: England vs. Wales
- When: Saturday 7 March
- Where: Twickenham, London
- Start time: 4.45pm (GMT)
- TV coverage: live on ITV and S4C
England head coach Eddie Jones has warned Wales that his team “owe them one” after their 21-13 defeat in last year’s Six Nations rugby championship.
That victory in Cardiff helped Wales win the grand slam and Jones is out for revenge when the teams clash at Twickenham tomorrow.
“They beat us last year so we owe them one,” said Jones, who was speaking shortly after it was confirmed that England’s match against Italy in Rome on 14 March had been cancelled.
“They’ve got a new coach and they’ll want to make a statement on Saturday. Traditionally our games are very close so they’ll come with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of energy.”
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Wilson and Watson return
Jones has made two changes to the side that outplayed Ireland last month, bringing in Mark Wilson for the injured Sam Underhill in the back row and naming fit-again Anthony Watson on the right wing in place of Jonathan Joseph.
The England coach, who was obliged to rest Underhill because of a head injury, said: “Anthony trained really well. We haven’t seen much of him but he’s come back in and is fully fit and ready to go.
“Wilson is one of those tough uncompromising players that you always want in your team. We are disappointed that Sam can’t play, but we have a great replacement.”
Wilson and Watson last played a Test match in last year’s Rugby World Cup, as did two Welshman who will face them tomorrow.
Liam Williams, normally a full-back, has been selected on the wing in place of the injured Josh Adams, and Josh Navidi gets the nod at No.8 from head coach Wayne Pivac ahead of Taulupe Faletau.
Dan Biggar has been named at fly-half despite concerns he might not be fit after a knock in a club game for Northampton last week.
The sight of Biggar will be a reassuring one for Welsh fans in Twickenham, as will that of their captain, Alun Wyn Jones, who will tomorrow become his country’s most capped player in the Six Nations with 57 appearances, surpassing the record set by Gethin Jenkins.
Wales haven’t beaten England in the Six Nations at Twickenham since 2012 and for Pivac - who replaced Warren Gatland as coach in November - it is a formidable challenge especially as the Welsh have lost their last two matches.
“We’ve prepared as well as we can, we’ve got a good side taking the field,” Pivac said. “But judging [England] on that Ireland game, this is going to be a big task.”
How the teams line up at Twickenham
England starting XV
- Elliot Daly; Anthony Watson, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell (captain), Jonny May; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Joe Marler, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler; Maro Itoje, George Kruis; Courtney Lawes, Mark Wilson, Tom Curry
- Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, Joe Launchbury, Charlie Ewels, Ben Earl, Willi Heinz, Henry Slade
Wales starting XV
- Leigh Halfpenny; George North, Nick Tompkins, Hadleigh Parkes, Liam Williams; Dan Biggar, Tomos Williams; Rob Evans, Ken Owens, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Ross Moriarty, Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi
- Replacements: Ryan Elias, Rhys Carre, Leon Brown, Aaron Shingler, Taulupe Faletau, Rhys Webb, Jarrod Evans, Johnny McNicholl