Wales v England: Gareth Anscombe key for hosts' evolution - Martyn Williams

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Wales v England: Watch some of the greatest moments
Six Nations: Wales v England
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff 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.

Wales are "desperate" for Gareth Anscombe to prove himself as first-choice fly-half in Saturday's Six Nations encounter with England, says former flanker Martyn Williams.

Anscombe has been picked at 10 ahead of the older, more experienced Dan Biggar for the Principality Stadium match.

"Wales are desperate for Anscombe to work because they need to evolve their game," Williams told BBC Radio 5 live.

"I'm confident he'll thrive. The bigger the occasion the better he plays."

Speaking on Matt Dawson's Rugby Show, Williams, who won 100 Test caps for Wales between 1996 and 2012, said it was time for coach Warren Gatland to establish a firm first-choice number 10 with the World Cup less than seven months away.

"Dan Biggar has been brilliant. He was integral to making the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 2015 and when they won the Championship in 2013," Williams added.

"But he does not get the backline going in an attacking sense.

"I really think they need to nail their colours to the mast about who is the fly-half. Chopping and changing doesn't do anyone any good."

Anscombe, 27, is yet to start more than two successive games at fly-half for Wales, but appears to have edged ahead of 29-year-old Biggar in Gatland's thinking.

Gareth Anscombe
Anscombe, who was born in New Zealand and represented the Kiwi's under-20 team, qualifies for Wales through his mother
Dan Biggar
Biggar started at 10 for famous wins over England in the 2013 Six Nations (left) and 2015 World Cup (right)

While Anscombe has featured in Twickenham defeats in 2016 and 2018, this will be the first time he has faced England at home.

England World Cup-winning scrum-half Dawson believes his selection is down to the necessity for Wales to be clinical in converting whatever chances arise against the title favourites.

"If Wales are going to beat England, they are going to have to make the most of three or four opportunities," he said.

"I know that there are risks in his selection, but you have to think that Anscombe has the ability to make the most of those opportunities."

Belief abounds

Owen Farrell
England upset 2018 Grand Slam winners Ireland in Dublin in the first round

Wales have opened their Six Nations campaign with a comeback win over France and a scratchy second-string victory over Italy.

England, meanwhile, have racked up 76 points in wins away to Ireland and at home against France.

England have moved above Wales to third in the world rankings on the back of their strong start, although coach Eddie Jones has insisted that, contrary to the bookmakers' odds, the hosts are favourites for the fixture.

"If you are going purely on form in the opening two rounds there is only one winner - England," said Williams,

"But it is Cardiff and the first home game of the championship for Wales. People are forgetting that Wales are on the back of 11 wins. They are full of confidence.

"It is very rare, but I think both teams to a man fully believe they are going to win this game. That is what makes it so tight to call."

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