The age-old rivalry of England versus Wales resumes on Saturday, an always-intense match-up that never disappoints ready to receive its latest instalment.
At home on the Twickenham turf we have England, desperate to make up ground on Championship-leading France and just four points behind in second.
On the other side we have Wales, always keen to thwart their old rival and looking to bed in their expansive new style under head coach Wayne Pivac.
The teams have been named and England have made two changes, one enforced with Sam Underhill out and Mark Wilson coming in at openside, one unenforced with the world class Anthony Watson replacing Jonathan Joseph.
There are four changes for Wales, who will be delighted to welcome back key men Josh Navidi and Liam Williams, in at No.8 and wing respectively.
Scrum-half Tomos Williams also wins back his place with Gareth Davies dropping out of the 23, old campaigner Rob Evans into the starting XV at prop.
WHAT THEY SAID
England head coach Eddie Jones said: “We’ve had a really good two-week preparation – a fallow week in Oxford where we had good training days last Thursday and Friday and three good training days this week culminating in a very good session Wednesday.
“Wales are a very tough, well-coached side and they’ve been building on their attack since Wayne Pivac has taken over.
“It’s always a tough game against Wales and we know they will bring that toughness to all the contest areas.”
Wales head coach Pivac commented: “We have had the chance to put the disappointments of the loss to France behind us and we know heading to London we need to be more clinical in attack and convert the opportunities that we are creating.
“Liam’s return to full fitness is a positive after the loss of Josh (Adams), as is the return of Josh Navidi. We have been targeting this game for both of their returns and they have trained really well so it’s a great opportunity for them on Saturday.”
KEY BATTLE – Anthony Watson v Liam Williams
At Twickenham on Saturday the world will revel in a battle between two of the classiest wings in world rugby, and two British & Irish Lions teammates – Anthony Watson and Liam Williams.
Both are stars of the last decade and both have been restored to the starting line-ups of their respective sides for Round 4, fireworks are guaranteed.
On Saturday, Watson will take up his berth on England’s right wing, directly opposite Williams and with inevitable clashes to come. Both are experts whether in attack, defence, or in the air, and the outcome of those battles will no doubt produce some standout moments.
- Wales lead the Guinness Six Nations in terms of opposition 22 entries per game. Their 9.7 visits per match is the highest mark, 1.7 more visits more than the third-ranking England tally of 8.0.
- Wales manage to produce 2.41 points per opposition 22 entry compared to England’s 2.00 – with Wales finding points in 41.4% of their trips inside their opponent’s 22. England have been scoring in just one in every three visits.
- A key advantage for England should come at the lineout, as they boast 14 stolen lineouts thus far in the 2020 Guinness Six Nations – twice as many as any other nation – and seven times more than Wales’ pair of steals, which is a Championship’s lowest total.
England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell (c), 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 1 Joe Marler, 2 Jamie George, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis, 6 Courtney Lawes, 7 Mark Wilson, 8 Tom Curry
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Charlie Ewels, 21 Ben Earl, 22 Willi Heinz, 23 Henry Slade
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tomos Williams, 1 Rob Evans, 2 Ken Owens, 3 Dillon Lewis, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 6 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 8 Josh Navidi
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Rhys Carre,18 Leon Brown, 19 Aaron Shingler, 20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Johnny McNicholl