Six Nations News – England v Wales…

England host 2019 champions Wales in the Six Nations at Twickenham on Saturday, needing to win to keep alive hopes of a third title in five years.

England make two changes with Mark Wilson coming in for injured flanker Sam Underhill and Anthony Watson replacing Jonathan Joseph on the wing. 

Wales face England under head coach Wayne Pivac for the first time having lost successive Six Nations matches. 

They make four changes from the home defeat by France two weeks ago.

Scarlets-bound back Liam Williams makes a first appearance since the World Cup after recovering from an ankle problem. 

Cardiff flanker Josh Navidi, who has been injured since January, is preferred to Taulupe Faletau at number eight, and Rob Evans replaces fellow Scarlets prop Wyn Jones in the front row. 

Cardiff scrum-half Tomos Williams makes a first appearance against England, with Gareth Davies dropping out of the squad altogether, while Bath nine Rhys Webb, Saracens prop Rhys Carre and Scarlets flanker Aaron Shingler all come onto the bench. 

Commentator’s notes

BBC Sport’s Eddie Butler: The double blip of defeats against South Africa and France has turned into a back-to-back recovery against Scotland and Ireland. 

England are back on track with a vengeful determination and have home advantage against Wales to boot. Or to pass, or to drive. Any which way they like. They look formidable. 

Wales have lost their last two games and are fully aware that England are never the easiest to face when your timing is a little off and your title has already slipped away. But there’s nothing like the prospect of humiliation to concentrate the mind. Wales are close to being excellent. 

Having predicted high-scoring adventures in all rounds, this time both teams are going to deliver. England 39-38 Wales.

View from both camps

England head coach Eddie Jones: “You’ve got to remember they beat us last year so we owe them one.

“They’ve lost two games in a row. 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.”

Video captionWales are on the right track – Pivac

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac: “We’ve had a good two weeks and we are really excited about heading up to Twickenham for what will be a huge Six Nations clash.

“We have had the chance to put the disappointments of the loss to France behind us, and we know 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.”

Image copyrightBBC SPORT

Six Nations table

Line-ups

England: 15- Elliot Daly; 14-Anthony Watson, 13-Manu Tuilagi, 12-Owen Farrell (capt), 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 (capt), 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

Match facts 

Head-to-head 

  • England can win four straight home matches against Wales for the second time in the Six Nations era.
  • England’s last four Six Nations wins in this fixture have all been decided by a margin of six points or fewer. Six of Wales’ seven Six Nations victories have been by a converted try or more.
  • Wales scored just six points on their last Six Nations visit to Twickenham in 2018 – their lowest return in this fixture since 2000. 
  • England have won all four meetings in round four of the Six Nations by an aggregate score of 135-70.

England

  • Victory for England would secure a fifth Triple Crown of the Six Nations era (level with Ireland).
  • England have only lost seven home games in Six Nations history. Two of those defeats came against Wales, in 2008 and 2012. 
  • They have been beaten only twice in their last 24 games at Twickenham. 
  • It takes opponents 4.49 seconds to clear an English ruck, a full second longer than any other nation.
  • They have won just five of their last 11 Six Nations matches (D1, L5). 

Wales

  • Wales could lose three straight Six Nations games for the first time since a run of five losses ended in 2007. 
  • They have lost four of their last five Tests.
  • Wales have not beaten England in the Six Nations with Dan Biggar starting since 2013 (L3). 
  • Biggar’s goal-kicking success rate of 86.7% is the best of any Wales player in the Six Nations era (at least 20 kicks).
  • Wales have conceded 22 penalties – the fewest of any team. They are the only nation yet to concede a penalty for offside in this Six Nations. 

Match officials

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) 

Touch judges: Romain Poite (France) & Alexandre Ruiz (France)

TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

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