Thursday 18 July 2019

Warren Gatland delighted to name unchanged Wales XV for trip to Twickenham

Wales head coach Warren Gatland. Photo: Reuters
Wales head coach Warren Gatland. Photo: Reuters

Andrew Baldock

Warren Gatland will send an unchanged Wales team to Twickenham for Saturday's NatWest 6 Nations clash against England.

The Wales head coach has retained his starting line-up that accounted for Scotland 34-7 three days ago.

Gatland's only switch is among the replacements, where fit-again Northampton wing George North takes over from Owen Watkin.

North, who has twice been sidelined by knee injuries this season, last played for Wales when they lost to France in the final match of last season's tournament.

But he has scored 30 tries in 69 Wales appearances and is a proven performer at the highest level.

North's fellow British and Irish Lion Liam Williams, who was due to resume full training with the Wales squad on Monday following an abdominal injury, is not involved.

North made a try-scoring return for his club in their Anglo-Welsh Cup victory over Harlequins last Friday, but Gatland has opted to retain starting wings Josh Adams, who wins his second cap, and Steff Evans.

Gatland said: "It's great to name an unchanged starting XV.

"The players deserve that for a very good performance on the opening weekend.

"We have made one change on the bench, with George coming in for Owen (Watkin), which is tough on Owen but Josh (Adams) picked up a slight strain last weekend, so George provides us a bit more cover there.

"We know how tough it is going to be against that huge English forward pack. They are really going to test us.

"England have been in great form the last couple of years, so we know the challenge we face, but we have had a good couple of weeks in camp and we are looking forward to going up to Twickenham."

Wales were the last team to beat England in a Six Nations Test match at Twickenham, winning 19-12 six years ago when centre Scott Williams scored a try five minutes from time.

Since then, England have reeled off 14 successive home victories in the tournament, while they are also chasing an unprecedented hat-trick of Six Nations titles this term.

Wales: L Halfpenny (Scarlets); J Adams (Worcester), S Williams (Scarlets), H Parkes (Scarlets), S Evans (Scarlets); R Patchell (Scarlets), G Davies (Scarlets); R Evans (Scarlets), K Owens (Scarlets), S Lee (Scarlets), C Hill (Dragons), A W Jones (Ospreys, capt), A Shingler (Scarlets), J Navidi (Cardiff Blues), R Moriarty (Gloucester).

Replacements: E Dee (Dragons), W Jones (Scarlets), T Francis (Exeter), B Davies (Ospreys), J Tipuric (Ospreys), A Davies (Scarlets), G Anscombe (Cardiff Blues), G North (Northampton).

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