What are the teams for Wales v England?

England’s Courtney Lawes  Maro Itoje and Kyle Sinckler with Wales Adam Beard and Ross Moriarty  26/2/2022
Wales and England will lock horns in the cauldron that is Principality Stadium on Saturday afternoon in Round 3 of the Guinness Six Nations.

Wales and England will lock horns in the cauldron that is Principality Stadium on Saturday afternoon in Round 3 of the Guinness Six Nations.

Wales are looking to get off the mark in the 2023 Championship and earn their first victory since Warren Gatland returned to the head coach role, while England, whose last success in Cardiff came in 2017, are on the hunt for a first away win under Steve Borthwick.

England were victorious last year, winning 23-19 in a tense encounter at Twickenham with Alex Dombrandt scoring the crucial try for the hosts.

Wales team news

Warren Gatland has made nine changes from the side that was defeated 35-7 by Scotland in Round 2.

Mason Grady will make his debut at outside centre, forming an exciting young midfield partnership with Joe Hawkins.

Louis Rees-Zammit comes straight back into the starting XV following the injury that has kept him out of the opening two rounds, joined in the back three by Josh Adams and Leigh Halfpenny, who also returns from injury.

Owen Williams starts at fly-half, earning just his fifth Wales cap, partnered by namesake Tomos Williams at scrum-half.

In the forwards, Gareth Thomas and Tomas Francis return to the front row, either side of captain Ken Owens who retains his spot at hooker after scoring at BT Murrayfield a fortnight ago.

Adam Beard is the only other forward who has maintained his place throughout the Championship, and he is joined by veteran Alun Wyn Jones, who will win his 157th Test cap.

In the back row there are two further changes. Christ Tshiunza keeps his place at blindside flanker, joined by the returning experienced pair Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau, who creeps closer to 100 caps.

Dillon Lewis, Dafydd Jenkins, Tommy Reffell and Dan Biggar all drop to the bench from the starting XV in Edinburgh, while there is a return to the squad for Bradley Roberts and Nick Tompkins.

Gatland said: “There’s some experience coming back into the side with Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric, Alun Wyn Jones and also Leigh Halfpenny.

“And then we’re mixing that with giving players an opportunity. Owen Williams coming in at ten – we need to find out about that ten position so Owen gets a chance.

“For both teams this is a massive game because we win on Saturday and we can get things on track a little bit more. For England it’s a huge game because if you look at their final two games that’s a challenge too, so it’s a huge moment in this competition.”

Wales team to face England: 15. Leigh Halfpenny, 14. Josh Adams, 13. Mason Grady, 12. Joe Hawkins, 11. Louis Rees-Zammit, 10. Owen Williams, 9. Tomos Williams, 1. Gareth Thomas, 2. Ken Owens, 3. Tomas Francis, 4. Adam Beard, 5. Alun Wyn Jones, 6. Christ Tshiunza, 7. Justin Tipuric, 8. Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: 16. Bradley Roberts, 17. Rhys Carre, 18. Dillon Lewis, 19. Dafydd Jenkins, 20. Tommy Reffell, 21. Kieran Hardy, 22. Dan Biggar, 23. Nick Tompkins

England team news:

Steve Borthwick has made just one change to England’s starting XV from the side that defeated Italy 31-14 at Twickenham for the trip over the River Severn.

Anthony Watson starts on the left wing in place of the injured Ollie Hassell-Collins, joined by Max Malins and Freddie Steward in the back three.

Player of the Match against Italy, Ollie Lawrence, remains at inside centre continuing his midfield partnership with Henry Slade.

Captain Owen Farrell stays at fly-half, with Jack van Poortvliet starting at scrum-half.

The forward pack is totally unchanged, with Ellis Genge , Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler in the front row, while Ollie Chessum and Maro Itoje continue in the second row.

Lewis Ludlam, Jack Willis and Alex Dombrandt form the back row.

There are two changes to the replacements, both of which come in the forwards as Courtney Lawes is named back in the England squad, while there is also a spot for Ben Curry in place of Ben Earl.

Jack Walker, Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, Alex Mitchell, Marcus Smith and Henry Arundell all keep their places on the bench from the Italy clash.

Borthwick said: “Wales v England in Cardiff is one of the iconic rugby fixtures, steeped in history and always full of passion.  “We know the Principality Stadium crowd will be in full voice and we will have to be at our very best to repeat the success we had in the last round against Italy.

“I have selected a team that I think has the right players and balance to meet the particular challenges we will face this weekend. “I am delighted to have welcomed Courtney Lawes back to the squad after injury. His quality and experience has contributed to a focused training week, marked by the sort of competition and intensity we expect.

England starting XV to face Wales: 15. Freddie Steward, 14. Max Malins, 13. Henry Slade, 12. Ollie Lawrence, 11. Anthony Watson, 10. Owen Farrell, 9. Jack van Poortvliet, 1. Ellis Genge, 2. Jamie George, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Ollie Chessum, 6. Lewis Ludlam, 7. Jack Willis, 8. Alex Dombrandt.

Replacements: 16. Jack Walker, 17. Mako Vunipola, 18. Dan Cole, 19. Courtney Lawes, 20. Ben Curry, 21. Alex Mitchell, 22. Marcus Smith, 23. Henry Arundell