Thursday 18 December 2014

Centre Jonathan Davies recalled to Wales team for England clash

Published 05/03/2014 | 11:15

Wales' Jonathan Davies
Wales' Jonathan Davies

Centre Jonathan Davies has been recalled to the Wales team after injury for Sunday's RBS 6 Nations game against England at Twickenham, the Welsh Rugby Union has announced.

 Gatland has recalled centre Davies after a four-month absence from Test rugby for next Sunday's RBS 6 Nations clash against title rivals England at Twickenham.

Davies has seen just 105 minutes of competitive action for the Scarlets since suffering a torn pectoral muscle during Wales' opening autumn series defeat by South Africa on November 9.

But the 25-year-old, a star performer in the British and Irish Lions' Test series triumph against Australia last summer, returns to resume his powerful midfield partnership with Jamie Roberts.

With Davies back, George North, who deputised in the number 13 shirt against France last month, reverts to his familiar wing position, with Liam Williams dropping out.

One other change sees fit-again lock Alun-Wyn Jones take over from Jake Ball

Scarlets pair Williams and Ball are both on the bench, along with Mike Phillips as Rhys Webb retains scrum-half duties after impressing on his first Wales start when France were crushed 27-6.

Jones, meanwhile, missed the France encounter due to a foot infection, but he has now fully recovered.

Gatland's line-up contains 11 of the team that ended England's Grand Slam hopes by a record 30-3 margin in Cardiff last season, with Webb, fly-half Rhys Priestland, lock Luke Charteris and flanker Dan Lydiate the only players involved this time who did not start that game.

And there are nine members of the Gatland-coached Lions third Test team that destroyed Australia in Sydney last July to claim a first series triumph since 1997.

Reflecting on his selection for Twickenham, Gatland said: "It's great to have both Jon and Alun-Wyn back and available, and they come into a very experienced side.

"Jon came through the match well at the weekend (against Munster) and he is ready to go.

"We were happy with the response and performance against France, but we know we will have to raise it another level on Sunday.

"We are really looking forward to going up to Twickenham. England have performed well so far, and it is set up to be a great game with all to play for."

Four teams - Ireland, England, Wales and France - are currently locked on four points at the top of the Six Nations table.

Ireland's superior points difference means they are favourites to lift the title, although their final game on Match 15 is against France in Paris.

The losers at Twickenham will effectively be out of title contention, which further raises the stakes for the 125th meeting between two fierce rivals. The countries are currently locked on 56 wins each, with 12 draws.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster is due to name his starting XV on Friday.

Wales team:

15-Leigh Halfpenny, 14-Alex Cuthbert, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Jamie Roberts, 11-George North, 10-Rhys Priestland, 9-Rhys Webb; 8-Toby Faletau, 7-Sam Warburton, 6-Dan Lydiate, 5-Alun Wyn Jones, 4-Luke Charteris, 3-Adam Jones, 2-Richard Hibbard, 1-Gethin Jenkins

Replacements: 16-Ken Owens, 17-Paul James, 18-Rhodri Jones, 19-Jake Ball, 20-Justin Tipuric, 21-Mike Phillips, 22-Dan Biggar, 23-Liam Williams

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