Wales v England: Six Nations preview - team news, line-ups, quotes & stats

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Wales v England: Watch some of the greatest moments
Six Nations
Venue: Principality Stadium Date: Saturday, 23 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, S4C, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Team news & line-ups

Wales will bid to win a record 12th straight Test match when they face England in Cardiff on Saturday.

But Wales' stuttering Six Nations form means the visitors are seen as favourites for the Grand Slam after two emphatic bonus-point victories.

Wales have made 11 changes from the win over Italy, with Gareth Anscombe preferred to Dan Biggar at fly-half.

England have brought in wing Jack Nowell and prop Ben Moon for injured duo Chris Ashton and Mako Vunipola.

Back-row forward Brad Shields could make his Six Nations debut from the bench, alongside wing Joe Cokanasiga.

Among the other Wales returnees are captain Alun Wyn Jones, flanker Justin Tipuric, number eight Ross Moriarty and scrum-half Gareth Davies.

Liam Williams, Josh Adams, Jonathan Davies and Josh Navidi are the only survivors from the team that started in Rome.

Wales: 15-L Williams; 14-North, 13-J Davies, 12-Parkes, 11-Adams; 10-Anscombe, 9-G Davies; 1-R Evans, 2-Owens, 3-Francis, 4-Hill, 5-AW Jones (capt), 6-Navidi, 7-Tipuric, 8-Moriarty.

Replacements: 16-Dee, 17-Smith, 18-Lewis, 19-Beard, 20-Wainwright, 21-A Davies, 22-Biggar, 23-Watkin.

England: 15-Daly; 14-Nowell, 13-Slade, 12-Tuilagi, 11-May; 10-Farrell (capt), 9-Youngs; 1-Moon, 2-George, 3-Sinckler, 4-Lawes, 5-Kruis, 6-Wilson, 7-Curry, 8-B Vunipola.

Replacements: 16-Cowan-Dickie, 17-Genge, 18-Williams, 19-Launchbury, 20-Shields, 21-Robson, 22-Ford, 23-Cokanasiga.

Commentator's notes

Eddie Butler: "It's not as if there aren't enough contrasts already. Wales and England are as different as red is from white. They even win differently: England with all-round excellence, Wales with a bit of a lurch and a scramble.

"It is a perfectly-scripted clash of opposites. And who, or what, will give? Where and how will it be won? Who can say?

"All Wales' wins over England come with a certain defiance of logic. Take the Wembley game 20 years past to the last time Wales won, during the 2015 World Cup. Victory even now would be a shock to rational analysis. But reason has no place here. Reason, take the day off."

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Danny Care recalls an eventful pre-match journey through Cardiff

View from both camps

Wales head coach Warren Gatland: "We are really happy with the experience we have got in the side.

"We have been on the road for the first two weeks, and we are looking forward to being back at home and to build on those first two wins and to build on our performance.

"We've had a great two-week lead up to this game, we've looked really sharp and the squad are incredibly motivated to kick on.

"We know how important this game is for the rest of the championship.

"It's a massive challenge playing against an England team that is playing really well and with a lot of confidence, and we've got to make it difficult for them."

England head coach Eddie Jones: "England and Wales is always a big game.

"Intense rivals and there is the historical context to it, but for us it is our most important game because it is our next game and that is how we are treating it.

"It's all about Wales, we are playing potentially the greatest team ever.

"Their players are full of emotion and it's the biggest game they are going to play in their lives.

"We have had a good week just focusing on ourselves and focusing on getting our preparation right."

Key battle - the back-row breakdown

Mark Wilson
Newcastle forward Mark Wilson will be playing against Wales at the Principality Stadium for the first time

The breakdown is an area which could prove crucial, particularly with Wales' strength in depth in that area, but England have finally found a balanced back row with the emergence of flankers Mark Wilson and Tom Curry packing down alongside number eight Billy Vunipola.

England have only lost three rucks in two matches in the Six Nations, with a leading ruck win rate of 98.9%. In the 2018 autumn internationals, Wilson was the first man at a ruck on 83 occasions, more than any other player from any nation.

Navidi was Wales' man of the match against Italy despite playing out of position at number eight, while Ross Moriarty and Justin Tipuric both return to bolster the back row.

However, Gatland's side have conceded a tournament-high 37 turnovers so far, while England have won the most with 12.

Last six Wales v England matches at the Principality Stadium
11 Feb 2017: England won 21-1613 Aug 2011: Wales won 19-9
6 Feb 2015: England won 21-164 Feb 2011: England won 26-19
16 Mar 2013: Wales won 30-314 Feb 2009: Wales won 23-15

Match facts

Head-to-head

  • Wales won the corresponding fixtures in 1949, 1959, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999 and 2009.
  • England could secure a record sixth consecutive win against Wales in the Championship.
  • The last four Six Nations clashes have all been decided by a margin of six points or fewer.
  • Wales' last win over England in the Six Nations was by a record 30-3 margin in 2013.

Wales

  • Wales can set a national record of 12 consecutive Test victories on Saturday.
  • They could win nine straight matches at home for the first time since 1999.
  • Their last defeat in Cardiff came against New Zealand in November 2017.
  • Wales' line-out success rate of 65% in this Six Nations is the worst of any nation.

England

  • England have scored a try within the opening four minutes of their last five Tests, and in eight of the past 14 since the start of 2018.
  • Jonny May's tally of 12 tries in 12 Tests since the beginning of 2018 is the best return of any Tier One player during that period.
  • England have scored 10 tries from just five line-breaks in total in this Six Nations.
  • The Red Rose have made a tournament-high 75 dominant tackles, but their overall tackle success rate of 87% is the worst.

Match officials

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)

Touch judges: Jerome Garces (France) & Alexandre Ruiz (France)

TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

Six Nations table

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