Thursday 14 December 2017

Wales name unchanged starting XV for their crucial trip to Twickenham

Wales head coach Warren Gatland. Photo: Nick Potts / PA Wire.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland. Photo: Nick Potts / PA Wire.

Andrew Baldock

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has named an unchanged team for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations showdown against England at Twickenham.

Gatland retains the starting line-up that accounted for France 11 days ago, although there are three changes on the bench.

Scrum-half Rhys Webb, who was called into Wales' Six Nations squad on Monday following a six-month injury absence from Test rugby, is among the replacements, along with fit-again lock Luke Charteris and prop Paul James.

Ospreys loosehead James takes over from 122 times-capped Gethin Jenkins, who is continuing his recovery from a calf muscle injury.

Charteris missed the France game due to a knee injury and was replaced by Wasps forward Bradley Davies, who continues in the second row alongside Alun-Wyn Jones.

Webb, meanwhile, has not played for Wales since their final World Cup warm-up fixture against Italy last September.

The 27-year-old suffered a serious foot injury during that match and was was ruled out of World Cup contention. He returned to action last month, and has made three comeback appearances in Ospreys colours.

Cardiff Blues scrum-half Lloyd Williams drops out of the matchday 23, together with Jenkins and Scarlets lock Jake Ball.

Gatland said: "We have named a pretty experienced side for Saturday, with no changes in the starting team.

"I thought they did pretty well against France, and we are looking for them to do a job for us this weekend.

"We have a couple of guys back from injury on the bench - Luke Charteris, Paul James and Rhys Webb - and that is a bonus.

"It's great to have Rhys back in the squad. He has been training really hard and brings a lot of energy and experience to the team.

"We are happy with the blend of our side. There is a huge amount to play for on Saturday, and it will go a long way to deciding the Six Nations."

Wales have beaten England three times at Twickenham since Gatland took charge eight years ago, with their most recent triumph being a World Cup pool stage victory last September.

Another Wales win would then leave them needing to beat Six Nations strugglers Italy at home on Saturday week to secure a fourth Six Nations title of Gatland's reign.

England, though, will close in on Six Nations silverware - and leave themselves one win away from achieving a first Grand Slam since 2003 - if they defeat their unbeaten title rivals this weekend.

Wales team to play England in the RBS 6 Nations at Twickenham on Saturday:

(15-9) L Williams (Scarlets); A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Clermont Auvergne), J Roberts (Harlequins), G North (Northampton); D Biggar (Ospreys), G Davies (Scarlets); (1-8) R Evans (Scarlets), S Baldwin (Ospreys), S Lee (Scarlets), B Davies (Wasps), A-W Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Ospreys), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: (16-23) K Owens (Scarlets), P James (Ospreys), T Francis (Exeter), L Charteris (Racing 92), J Tipuric (Ospreys), R Webb (Ospreys), R Priestland (Bath), G Anscombe (Cardiff Blues).

Irish Independent Sport Star Awards

Pick our magic sports moment of the year and win a trip for two to London. To view the shortlist and cast your vote click here.

Press Association

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport