Match Preview


Freddie Steward

England against Wales always delivers on drama and the round two clash in the 2024 Guinness Men’s Six Nations should be no exception.

Steve Borthwick’s England side came away from Rome with a hard-fought victory over Italy, continuing to build on the success of the third-place finish at last year’s World Cup.

They will now look to back that up against a Welsh team who almost pulled off the unthinkable against Scotland.

Trailing 27-0 at home to the Scots, Wales scored 26 unanswered points, falling just one short of what would have been the biggest comeback win in the Championship’s long history.

Warren Gatland’s team will have some regrets after that loss, but a young side showed plenty of heart to fight back from an impossible situation.

Now they face the daunting challenge of travelling to Twickenham, where they last won in 2012 in the Championship.

England, meanwhile, have won their opening game of the campaign for the first time since 2019, and will now look to go two from two before a trip to Scotland in round three.


Viewers in the UK can watch the match on ITV 1 and on the ITV Hub, with coverage beginning at 4pm. Alternatively you can watch the game on S4C or listen on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, or through the BBC Sounds app.

Fans in Ireland can watch on RTE 2 from 4.15pm.


The two coaches have taken contrasting approaches following the opening round of matches, with Steve Borthwick sticking with the men who came out on top, 27-24, against Italy.

The starting XV is unchanged, with Jamie George again leading out the side as Alex Mitchell and George Ford take on half-back duties.

Only Ellis Genge, a late withdrawal in Rome, comes into the 23, slotting back onto the bench in place of Beno Obano.

Warren Gatland, meanwhile, has made seven changes to his team including a whole new front row for trip.

Gareth Thomas comes in at loosehead prop, packing down alongside hooker Elliot Dee and Kieron Assiratti on the tighthead.

Elsewhere in the pack, Alex Mann is handed his first Test start after impressing off the bench against Scotland.

There is also a new half-back pairing of Tomos Williams and Ioan Lloyd, the latter given the responsibility at fly-half after Sam Costelow was forced off against Scotland.

And the final change sees George North return to the side, taking his place in the outside centre spot instead of Owen Watkin.

All those changes mean that there are also some new faces on the bench, with Archie Griffin in line for his Test debut. He is joined by Will Rowlands, Taine Basham, Kieran Hardy and Cai Evans who could all make their first appearances of the Championship.


England coach Steve Borthwick: “It was both pleasing and important to have started our Six Nations campaign in Rome with a victory.

“It was good to have done so in front of so many travelling England supporters.

“However, we know there are areas of our game to improve as we prepare for this Saturday’s game against a spirited Wales team.

“With a new player group and a number of new caps, we have tried to develop our game on both sides of the ball. Such changes take time, and I was pleased how quickly the players settled and adapted last weekend against Italy.”

Wales coach Warren Gatland: “We’ve been critical and tough on ourselves this week. That first half was nowhere near the standards we expect. We simply cannot start the same way this Saturday.

“We showed in the second half against Scotland what we are capable of. Now it’s about building on that performance and playing with some tempo from the off.

“This is a massive game, not only because of the history and what it means to everyone in Wales. But it’s an opportunity to get things on track a bit more. England are in a rebuilding phase. We’ll go there with a lot of confidence we can build on that second half and belief."


As much as both teams have some intriguing line-ups in the three-quarters and half-backs, it is hard to imagine this game coming down to anything other than the battle up front.

Wales’ new-look front row will have a big job to do at scrum-time, but just as crucial will be the lineout, which faltered at times against Scotland.

Dafydd Jenkins has a lot of responsibility as the Wales skipper, but the second row will also be a key jumper in the lineout as England, and Maro Itoje, in particular, look to put pressure on Wales in that area.

Itoje was at his disruptive best against Italy in Rome, and if he continues that form against Wales, it will make it tricky for the dangerous Welsh backs to get enough ball to trouble their English counterparts.


  • England have won each of their last five Guinness Men’s Six Nations home matches against Wales, however, each of their last four such victories have come by margins of fewer than seven points; England have led at half-time in each of their 12 home games against Wales in the Championship, the only side they’re yet to trail against at the break at Twickenham.

  • England won their opening game of this year’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations (27-24 v Italy), they have not lost a Round 2 fixture in a campaign after winning their opener since 2009, when they lost to Wales (15-23) after opening round win against Italy (36-11)

  • Wales have won just one of their last nine games in the Guinness Men’s Six Nations (L8), however their sole win in that period came away from home (29-17 v Italy in 2023), while they lost by just a single point in Round 1 this year (26-27 v Scotland)

  • Despite suffering defeat, Wales totally of 26 second-half points against Scotland was their most in the Championship since February 2017 (30 v Italy) while it was the most second-half points by a team who were scoreless in the first half of a Five or Six Nations match since 1988 (England v Ireland 0-3 at HT, 35-3 at FT)


Still only 9.7 stars, there will no doubt be a rush to bring Ethan Roots in after his player of the match display in Rome. His 37 points were the most of any England player and between his ball-carrying and tackling, you can imagine he will rack up a few more on Saturday. Tommy Freeman (9.1) is even cheaper and the winger looked a constant threat against the Azzurri.

Meanwhile, for Wales, it is hard to look past Aaron Wainwright, the top points scorer of round one. His 56 points were reward for a stellar display in defeat and there is no reason why he cannot match that at Twickenham. Of the newcomers in the squad, Ioan Lloyd is an intriguing selection at 9.4 stars, while Alex Mann (9.3) is a fraction cheaper on his first Test start.


England: 15. Freddie Steward, 14. Tommy Freeman, 13. Henry Slade, 12. Fraser Dingwall, 11. Elliot Daly, 10. George Ford, 9. Alex Mitchell, 1. Joe Marler, 2. Jamie George (c), 3. Will Stuart, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Ollie Chessum, 6. Ethan Roots, 7. Sam Underhill, 8. Ben Earl

Replacements: 16. Theo Dan, 17. Ellis Genge, 18. Dan Cole, 19. Alex Coles, 20. Chandler Cunningham-South, 21. Danny Care, 22. Fin Smith, 23. Immanuel Feyi-Waboso

Wales: 15. Cameron Winnett, 14. Rio Dyer, 13. George North, 12. Nick Tompkins, 11. Josh Adams, 10. Ioan Lloyd, 9. Tomos Williams, 1. Gareth Thomas, 2. Elliot Dee, 3. Kieron Assiratti, 4. Dafydd Jenkins (c), 5. Adam Beard, 6. Alex Mann, 7. Tommy Reffell, 8. Aaron Wainwright

Replacements: 16. Ryan Elias, 17. Corey Domachowski, 18. Archie Griffin, 19. Will Rowlands, 20. Taine Basham, 21. Kieran Hardy, 22. Cai Evans, 23. Mason Grady