Wales set for Six Nations clash with England

Wales name unchanged XV to face England in Six Nations clash at Twickenham
Wales unchanged for Twickenham challenge
Author

11 February, 2018

The relative ease of England's 46-15 Six Nations victory in Rome last weekend was expected, Wales' 34-7 saunter against the Scots far less so.

Wales are going in search of their first Test victory over England at Twickenham since their dramatic Rugby World Cup 2015 pool victory, while the home side's aim is to maintain the impressive win-record they hold under Eddie Jones.

Of his 77 caps, 43 have come as a replacement. "A little bit surprised I suppose, but that's the style of rugby we've been wanting them to play for a long time and now Warren's brought it in and introduced it".

Warren Gatland says that first Test as Wales coach is still the highlight.

"Eddie Jones was in combative form as he launched a twin-pronged attack on Rhys Patchell and Alun Wyn Jones but I don't think it was needed and comments like this can backfire", Clive Woodward wrote in a newspaper column on Friday.

The two sides meeting in last year's Six Nations was decided by Elliot Daly's 76th-minute try. George Ford (Leicester Tigers) 9.

So what better way to derail his and Wales's preparation than by heaping pressure onto the 24-year-old and shining the spotlight on him? He has made four previous Test starts as a full-back, while he has also featured in the fly-half position.

Wales had looked doomed when England led 22-12 with half an hour left but they fought back and closed in when Davies pounced on a kick through by Lloyd Williams, a fellow scrum-half playing on the wing because of a glut of injuries.

The Australian's claim that Scarlets No 10 Patchell will face a considerably more challenging afternoon's work at Twickenham than he did against an underwhelming Scotland outfit was more a case of stating the obvious than any cynical attempt to undermine a young player's confidence.

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Jones added: "It's going to be different to playing against Scotland".

But while I've backed England to do the Grand Slam this year, I've got to admit I'd be nervous about supporting them at those short odds this weekend. To me it's disappointing that you get that decision wrong at such a pivotal moment of the game, such a big decision.

Put it this way, you don't become the best team in the world, which is England's consistently stated goal, without beating Wales at home - it has to be a given.

"From day one in camp we've trained well and been really sharp".

"We have spoken this week about being clinical and taking our chances and having to step up from last week to improve again this week".

Richard Wigglesworth, who plays for Quins' London rivals Saracens, the European champions, provides bench cover.

Eddie Jones has already stoked the fires ahead of the game, accusing Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones of not respecting referees and questioning fly-half Rhys Patchell's "bottle".

Gareth Anscombe kicked another three points in the 76th minute to ensure the match was tightly poised during the closing stages, but Wales just couldn't muster enough energy to find that try to win them the match.


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