England: Anthony Watson starts on wing in only change to starting line-up with Courtney Lawes set to return via the bench against Wales
England head coach Steve Borthwick has made one change to his starting line-up that downed Italy 31-14 last time out, with Anthony Watson starting on the wing while Courtney Lawes is set to make his international return off the bench.
Towering full-back Freddie Steward retains his place in the back-three, as does Max Malins, with Watson looking to add some X-factor on the left wing.
Ollie Lawrence is rewarded with another start after a blockbuster performance against Italy and continues his midfield partnership with the experienced Henry Slade.
Skipper Owen Farrell is preferred to Marcus Smith at fly-half again the week and will look to build on his half-back combinations with Jack van Poortvliet.
No changes in the forwards
There are no changes to the forward pack, with Alex Dombrandt continuing at number eight alongside Lewis Ludlam and Jack Willis, who shone against Italy in the back-row.
Ollie Chessum gets another start alongside the rock-solid Maro Itoje in the second-row while Ellis Genge, Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler look to perform in another good front-row performance.
Mako Vunipola and Dan Cole join hooker Jack Walker as front-row options for Borthwick, whilst both Lawes and Ben Curry come onto the bench as attractive forward replacements.
Smith remains on the bench this week alongside scrum-half Alex Mitchell and the exciting Henry Arundell for the Cardiff Test.
Borthwick is looking forward to another instalment in an “iconic” fixture and believes he has the right mix of players to come out with a win this weekend.
“Wales v England in Cardiff is one of the iconic rugby fixtures, steeped in history and always full of passion,” he said.
“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.
“I could not have asked any more from all the players and there is no doubt that they can’t wait to be a part of this special occasion.”
England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Max Malins, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Lawrence, 11 Anthony Watson, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Jack van Poortvliet, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Jack Willis, 6 Lewis Ludlam, 5 Ollie Chessum, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge
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
Date: Saturday, February 25
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)
READ MORE: Wales: Louis Rees-Zammit back from injury while Mason Grady set for debut against arch rivals England
The article England: Anthony Watson starts on wing in only change to starting line-up with Courtney Lawes set to return via the bench against Wales appeared first on Planetrugby.com.