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Six Nations 2021: Wales v England team news, preview & key stats


Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 27 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds, BBC Sport website and app, S4C

Wales face England at the Principality Stadium on Saturday with a Six Nations Triple Crown on their minds.

Victory at Murrayfield gave Wayne Pivac’s side two wins from two but Scotland, like Ireland in round one, were reduced to 14 players.

Champions England followed up their defeat by Scotland by cruising past Italy but have yet to hit top form.

Wales have won just one of the last seven Six Nations games against the Red Rose – can they defy recent history?

George North becomes at 28 the youngest player ever to win 100 caps in one of five changes from the side that beat Scotland.

North – and his centre partner Jonathan Davies – are back from injury while Josh Adams returns on the wing following a suspension for breaking Covid protocols.

Scrum-half Kieran Hardy gets a first Six Nations start in place of Gareth Davies while in the pack fit-again flanker Josh Navidi is back in place of Aaron Wainwright.

England make two changes with hooker Jamie George and flanker Mark Wilson the fresh faces.

George – one of six Saracens players in the starting line-up – replaces Luke Cowan-Dickie, who drops to the bench, while Wilson comes in for the injured Courtney Lawes.

Full-back Elliot Daly will win his 50th cap while uncapped Leicester forward George Martin is on the bench.

‘I’m hoping for a game for the ages’ – pundit view

Former England wing Ugo Monye on the Rugby Union Weekly podcast: “I’m hoping for a firecracker. I am fascinated about what we might witness.

“Wales seem to have found this steely edge and have got their fundamentals right. Start at their number one – name me a better loose-head prop than Wyn Jones in the Six Nations? His numbers are off the chart.

“With England we know they’ve not been at their best but look at the potential of those two teams and imagine Wales at their best and England somewhere near their best, that will be a game for the ages. That’s what I’m hoping for.”

BBC TV commentator Eddie Butler: Billy Vunipola is growling at himself, so when he and Taulupe Faletau go to it, we could have Etna 2. It will light up the sky, but represents yet another threat to space at ground level.

Freedom lies in the sky, where the ball will presumably be sent with unrelenting frequency. Like or not, up we go. Wales 26 England 22.

View from both camps

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac on in-form wing Louis Rees-Zammit: “I’m probably going to embarrass some family members but I’ve got twin 14-year-old step-daughters and they’re after an autograph and photograph when we get out of Covid!”

And paying tribute to North: “He is still highly motivated and wants to play for Wales well past 100 games. I am sure he is going to do that with the attitude he is showing at the moment and the form he will bring to the 13 jersey.”

England head coach Eddie Jones: “For most teams the third game is a make-or-break game and I think both teams face similar pressure.

“Wales v England means a lot to both countries. They’re always tough, tough games and that’s the allure of the Six Nations.

“They’re tight contests that go down to the last moment. We won one there in 2017, basically on the bell. And we had to win on the bell at Twickenham last year, so we’re expecting a similar sort of game.”

Line-ups

Wales: 15-Liam Williams; 14-Louis Rees-Zammit, 13-George North, 12-Jonathan Davies, 11-Josh Adams; 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Kieran Hardy; 1-Wyn Jones, 2-Ken Owens, 3-Tomas Francis, 4-Adam Beard, 5-Alun Wyn Jones (capt), 6-Josh Navidi, 7-Justin Tipuric, 8-Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: 16-Elliot Dee, 17-Rhodri Jones, 18-Leon Brown, 19-Cory Hill, 20-James Botham, 21-Gareth Davies, 22-Callum Sheedy, 23-Willis Halaholo.

England: 15-Elliot Daly; 14-Anthony Watson, 13-Henry Slade, 12-Owen Farrell (capt), 11-Jonny May; 10-George Ford, 9-Ben Youngs; 1-Mako Vunipola, 2-Jamie George, 3-Kyle Sinckler; 4-Maro Itoje, 5-Jonny Hill; 6-Mark Wilson, 7-Tom Curry, 8-Billy Vunipola

Replacements: 16-Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17-Ellis Genge, 18-Will Stuart, 19-Charlie Ewels, 20-George Martin, 21-Ben Earl, 22-Dan Robson, 23-Max Malins

Wales' George North
He is also the youngest in rugby union history to the milestone beating Australia flanker Michael Hooper’s record by 28 days.

Match facts

Head-to-head

  • Wales have only won one of their last seven Six Nations meetings with England.
  • England are the only team yet to concede more than two tries in a Six Nations game in Wales.

Wales

  • Wales have won four of their last five matches, losing one.
  • They have won their opening two Six Nations fixtures for a sixth time. In four of the previous five occasions they have managed this they have gone on to win a Grand Slam.

England

  • England have won nine of their last 10 matches.
  • England’s nine try bonus points since their Six Nations introduction in 2017 is a tournament-high.
  • Jonny May’s try v Italy saw him move to outright second on England’s all-time scorers list with 32.

Match officials

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)

Touch judges: Andrew Brace (Ireland) & Frank Murphy (Ireland)

TMO: Alex Ruiz (France)

Six Nations standings
France lead the Six Nations on points difference from Wales



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