Two old rivals are set to compete in Group A of the inaugural Fall Nations Cup this afternoon at Llanelli’s Parsi Y Scarlets.
Six-time champions England – who beat Georgia 40-0 in their opening match – traveled brilliantly from Severn Bridge and secured a place in the pool with an 18-7 win over Ireland at Twickenham last time out.
Johnny May made two brilliant quick fire attempts in that match, while Eddie Jones’ men put on a formidable save to keep England’s physically impressive victory going.
Despite the return of George Ford, conditions this afternoon are unlikely to help him develop an attacking game against the injured Welsh team, which was knocked out of last week’s six-match losing streak.
Lewis Rees-Zammit and Rheis Webb tried to ignite Georgia’s 18-0 home defeat with an improbable and rain that probably didn’t do anything to lift the spirits under Wayne Peacock.
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Williams ready to fulfill childhood dreams
Johnny Williams made an attempt for England at Twickenham last year – but he only has his fall in sight on Saturday.
The 24-year-old returned to professional rugby just 10 months ago after being diagnosed with testicular cancer and undergoing chemotherapy in 2019.
The diagnosis came after an impressive effort-scoring performance outside a non-cap England when Eddie Jones’ men beat Barbarian.
“It’s always been my dream,” Williams said.
“These England vs Wales games were definitely the reason I wanted to be on the pitch when I was watching with my dad at the Principality Stadium. These big games are the reason you want to take it to the top.
“It was a big blow, but one, I know that with pride and joy I know I fought through it to get back on the pitch.
“This is probably the highest level. To be honest, this is absolutely true, and I’m very excited.
“England are definitely there at the minute with their performances and results. I know what England v Wales means, so I can’t wait to get out on the pitch.”
Ojo: England can’t rely on physicality alone
Former England Wing and Standard Sports columnist Topsey Ojo wants to see more aggressive tendencies from guests this afternoon.
Without the choice of Manu Tuelgi or Oli Lawrence in their midfield against Wales this weekend, England will have to be creative with how they attack.
Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to be without a goal figure in the center, as it forces you to think differently about your play.
England have not really been pushed out of second or third gear this fall during the Nations Cup. For their excellent play and their defense, they did not have to rely on their attack to score.
You look at the team for this game – and the fact that there are six ahead on the bench – and it’s a clear indication that England are going to try to win it with their physicality. But for the team to grow, they need to develop their attack a little bit.
Click here To read Topsy’s pre-match ideas in full
Start XV: L. Huffpenny (Scarlets); L. Reese-Zmit (Gloucester), Ann Tompkins (Dragons), J. Williams (Scarlets), J. Adams (Cardiff Blues); D. Bigger (Northampton), L. Williams (Cardiff Blues); W. Jones (Scarlets), R. Elias (Scarlets), S. Lee (Scarlets), J. Ball (Scarlets), A. W. Jones (Osprey, Capture), S. Lewis-Hughes (Cardiff Blues), J. Botham (Cardiff Blues), T. Flatau (bath)
Changes: ED (Dragons), R. Carrey (Cardiff Blues), T. Francis (Exter), W. Rowlands (Wapz), A. Wainwright (Dragons), R. Webb (Ospress), C. Shady (Bristol), O Watkin (Ospress).
Start XV: E. Daly (Sarsens); J. Joseph (Bath), H. Slade (Exeter), O. Farrell (Sarsens, Capture), J. May (Gloucester); G. Ford (Lester), B. Young (Lester); M Unipola (Sarsens), J George (Ceres), K Sinclair (Bristol), M Itoje (Ceres), J Launchbury (Waps), T Curry (Sail Sharks), S Underhill (Bath), B Wunipola (Sarsens)
Changes: El Cowan-Dickey (Exeter), E Ganz (Leicester), W. Stuart (Bath), J. Hill (Exeter), B. Earl (Bristol), J. Willis (Waps), D. Robson (Waps), A. Watson (Bath).
Wales team news
For the injured Wales, who make eight changes to their unbeaten win over Georgia, who lost six games under Wayne Piwak, scrum-half Lloyd Williams makes his first international debut in four years with Dan Bigger.
Wing Lewis Rees-Zammit and center-back Johnny Williams have both been retained, while England cricket legend Ian’s grandson James Botham has made a fresh start.
Tolupe Fletta au and Shane Lewis-Higug or even Justin Tipirick and Josh Naveedi start in the back row with no fit.
Lee Huffpenny started 15 with Liam Williams out.
England team news
Eddie Jones recalled fly-half George Ford from his starting line-up to face Wales – his only change from a win over Ireland.
Ford starts at 10 a.m. with Owen Farrell replacing 12 and Oli Lawrence refuses to have a back injury.
Jones set his bench back on a 6-2 split, with Waps’ Jack Willis – who scored on an international start against Georgia – providing extra forward muscle.
Anthony Watson is back on the bench, meaning Max Malinz is out.
How to watch Wales vs England
TV Channels and Live Streams: Fans can watch the game on Amazon Prime’s streaming online streaming service.
You can also watch the match on mobile, Mac or PC. If you use Chromecast or AirPlay, you can also turn it into a larger screen.
Hello and welcome to Standard Sport’s Llanelli for live coverage of the Fall Nations Cup clash between Wales and England!