RBS Six Nations Rugby: Wales v England Team News

RBS Six Nations Rugby: Wales v England Team News

The RBS Six Nations kicks off on Friday night at the Millennium Stadium with England captain Mike Tindall expecting his team to impose themselves early against a battle hardened Wales fifteen.

Tindall is the last remaining member of England’s World Cup final side and captain’s an exciting new England team for the first time in his 66-game international career, replacing the injured Lewis Moody.

"Wales always have the ability to pull out massive performances when things go right for them. We have to expect that to happen,” said the skipper.

"The first 20 minutes we have to get out there and put a stop on it before it gets going. We have to start well. If we can impose our game we will be in a strong place to control the game."

A winning start will also see England take control of the tournament. Bookmakers have Martin Johnson’s youthful squad as Six Nations favourite and the odds of 15/8 offered by 888Sport will look pretty good if England triumph in Cardiff. England have a good draw this year and will be at Twickenham for 3 home games, against Italy, France and Scotland before going to Ireland for the final fixture.

Johnson has been forced into changing the England pack with Moody, Tom Croft and Courtney Lewis out through injury which means an international debut for Northampton’s Tom Wood with James Haskell and Louis Deacon joining the pack.

Despite England’s attacking flair with Mark Cueto, Chris Ashton and Ben Foden in the back line, Wales’ assistant coach Shaun Edwards has been preparing for a physical clash.

"They have a fantastic back three with a real understanding, but we have worked hard on our kick chase and we have done a lot of contact work and we are battle hardened,” he said.

"It is an east Midlands-orientated England team and I know from speaking to Sir Ian McGeechan about when he was at Northampton that in the East Midlands they pride themselves on their physicality in that area, so we know it will be a tough contest at the breakdown,” he added.

Head coach Warren Gatland has made a number of changes to the Welsh side, Paul James and Craig Mitchell will feature in the front row with the back row getting a different look when Sam Warburton, Dan Lydiate and Andy Powell team up with James Hook who gets moved to full back.

Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones will be missing from the pack while in the back line Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Tom Shanklin, Andrew Bishop and Richie Rees have made way.

Wales: 15 James Hook, 14 Morgan Stoddart, 13 Jamie Roberts, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Andy Powell, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies,3 Craig Mitchell,2 Matthew Rees (c), 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 John Yapp, 18 Ryan Jones, 19 Jonathan Thomas, 20 Dwayne Peel, 21 Rhys Priestland, 22 Lee Byrne.
England: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Mike Tindall (c), 12 Shontayne Hape, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nick Easter, 7 James Haskell, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Replacements: 16 Steve Thompson, 17 David Wilson, 18 Simon Shaw, 19 Joe Worsley, 20 Danny Care, 21 Jonny Wilkinson, 22 Matt Banahan.


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