Wales v England: George Ford returns to starting XV

By Chris JonesBBC rugby union correspondent
George Ford runs in training
George Ford was on the bench for England against Ireland after recovering from an Achilles injury
Autumn Nations Cup: Group A - Wales v England
Venue: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli Date: Saturday, 28 November Kick-off: 16:00 GMT
Coverage: Listen to commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and follow live text on the BBC Sport website and app.

Fly-half George Ford returns to the starting XV for England's Autumn Nations Cup match with Wales in Llanelli on Saturday.

Captain Owen Farrell switches to inside centre with Henry Slade making up the midfield.

The starting forward pack is unchanged from the 18-7 victory against Ireland.

Hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie, flanker Jack Willis and back Anthony Watson are named among the replacements for the Group A match.

Opposing head coaches Eddie Jones and Wayne Pivac warm up for the Autumn Nations Cup match on Saturday

England are unbeaten in the Autumn Nations Cup so far, with the win over Ireland following a 40-0 defeat of Georgia.

Victory against Wales would ensure England finish top of Group A, meaning they would compete for the title against the winner of Group B on 6 December.

France will emerge victorious in the other group if they beat Italy on Saturday.

"We're expecting another tough match and at the home of Welsh rugby where the heart and soul of their game is," said head coach Eddie Jones.

Ford made his comeback from injury off the bench against the Irish and now regains his starting position with Ollie Lawrence's hip issue ensuring the need for a backline reshuffle.

"We've picked the best 23 players for the battle and we're looking forward to it greatly," added Jones.

"Twelve months ago, Wales were Grand Slam champions and three points from a World Cup final, so we know what they are capable of."

Group A table. 1 England P 2, W 2, D 0, L 0 , PD 51, B 1, Pts 9. 2 Ireland P 2, W1, D 0, L 1, PD 12, B 0, Pts 4. 2 Wales P 2, W 1, D 0, L 1, PD -5, B 0, Pts 4. 4 Georgia P 2, W 0, D 0, L 2, PD -58, B 0, Pts 0.

Earl trains with backs as six forwards named on bench

Cowan-Dickie and Watson both return to the matchday squad after injury, while Willis - who made his debut against Georgia - is recalled after missing out against Ireland.

Ben Earl is also named on the bench, with Jones opting for a split of six forwards and two backs.

The Bristol flanker revealed on Tuesday he had been training as a back in case he is needed to cover that area.

"Obviously I'm a flanker first and foremost, but a little bit of versatility doesn't harm and I am happy to do whatever job is required of me," Earl said.

"At the end of the day tackling is tackling, running with ball is running with the ball and rucking is rucking.

"If anything you get a bit more open space in the backs, so it is something to get excited about."

Jones says naming starting XV is 'archaic'

Jones said he felt his forwards-heavy bench had the "right balance in terms of having the strongest team on in the last 20 minutes of the game".

But England's head coach questioned why he is required to name his starting XV days before the match and suggested a different system for the future.

"It is very much a 23-man squad," he said.

"The rule of naming a starting XV and a finishing eight is quite archaic and we should be allowed to name a squad of 23 and pick on the day who starts and who finishes.

"It would add a bit more drama to the game. Two hours before kick-off the teamsheets are provided and then you know who you are playing against."

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England team to face Wales

England: Daly; Joseph, Slade, Farrell, May; Ford, Youngs; M Vunipola, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Launchbury, Curry, Underhill, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Genge, Stuart, Hill, Earl, Willis, Robson, Watson.

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