Six Nations: A combined Wales and England XV ahead of Saturday’s clash in Cardiff

Wales v England combined XV Credit: Alamy
Wales v England combined XV Credit: Alamy

Wales and England have announced their teams ahead of Saturday’s mouth-watering Six Nations clash at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

Both sides are packed with talent but who has the edge on ability and form? We have tried to answer that question by compiling a team from the two nations.

Wales and England combined XV

15 Freddie Steward (England): With Liam Williams replaced by Leigh Halfpenny, our first call was made easier as Steward gets the shirt at full-back. A consistent performer whose solidity in the sky has earned him the nickname ‘Air Steward’, expect him to also offer a running threat for England.

14 Josh Adams (Wales): A difficult decision here after Max Malins’ strong form thus far in the Six Nations that has seen him score two tries. However, Adams just possesses a greater threat with ball in hand and is a potent finisher in his own right. Wales have two outstanding wide men this weekend.

13 Henry Slade (England): Wales have given Mason Grady his first taste of Six Nations rugby and there’s a great deal of excitement about his potential. Whether he will match up to Slade’s level so early in his career is a big ask though, with the England centre a silky runner who should feed off…

12 Ollie Lawrence (England): What a shift that was from the powerful centre against Italy? Lawrence seems to have settled a headache for Steve Borthwick as a hard-running 12 seems the way forward outside of Owen Farrell or Marcus Smith. Lawrence gets in here ahead of the classy Joe Hawkins.

11 Louis Rees-Zammit (Wales): As mentioned in the Adams section, Wales’ wing options on Saturday would make any opposing defence coach put in extra hours attempting to keep them at bay. Rees-Zammit returns to Test rugby from injury and pips the great Anthony Watson, who is superb in the air.

10 Owen Farrell (England): We must admit it feels right seeing Farrell in the 10 jersey as he looks much more comfortable and at home as first receiver. The captain has more of a say on England‘s decision-making in this role and looks to be thriving as we pick him over the in-form Owen Williams.

9 Tomos Williams (Wales): Jack van Poortvliet misses out to Williams here as the Welshman’s threat with ball in hand has become a key weapon in their arsenal over recent years. Such a busy operator who needs no invitation to increase Wales’ tempo, we believe he has the edge over Van Poortvliet right now, with the Leicester man not quite finding his form in 2023.

8 Taulupe Faletau (Wales): Faletau is back after being benched against Scotland in Round Two. He will therefore be keen to shine as he looks to display his array of skills and prove to Warren Gatland he’s still very much his man at eight. Alex Dombrandt might have something to say about that?

7 Jack Willis (England): A close call between Willis and Justin Tipuric but the England openside just shades this on recent performances. Willis was in dazzling form against Italy in his time on the field and was unlucky not to pick up the Player of the Match award in that match. Tipuric is top class in his own right though and we can’t wait to see how this intriguing individual battle unfolds, with the Welshman a joy to watch at times. Get the popcorn out for this.

6 Lewis Ludlam (England): One of England’s standout players of the opening Six Nations rounds, Ludlam looks to have nailed down a place in the squad at least moving forward to the World Cup. He gets in over the promising Christ Tshiunza, who played well last time out and gets another start.

5 Ollie Chessum (England): Much like Ludlam, we’ve been very impressed by Chessum. The athletic Leicester Tiger has outshone many of his forward team-mates in 2023 and also looks assured of his place in the England setup if he can stay injury free. We pick him over Wales great Alun Wyn Jones.

4 Maro Itoje (England): While he’s not been anywhere near his best, Itoje continues to put in solid enough showings, but is possibly lucky that Adam Beard is also not near his usual lofty standards at the moment. Both men need to up their games and when better to start than on Saturday in Cardiff?

3 Kyle Sinckler (England): The Bears tighthead was a fairly straightforward inclusion as he offers a solid platform at scrum time while also providng plenty around the field. Ospreys’ Gareth Thomas will hope to gain parity with his opponent but in terms of an all-round game, Sinckler has the edge.

2 Ken Owens (Wales): More than most in Wales’ camp, the skipper has had far from the ideal preparation for this game due to the threat of a strike. But make no mistake, when he steps out onto the field, Owens is all rugby business and will be eager to get one over his opposite number Jamie George.

1 Ellis Genge (England): Last but by no means least, Genge is at loosehead as it’s a Bristol and England duo either side of a Welsh hooker. He gets the nod over Tomas Francis, who will have his work cut out living with the all-action front-rower. Solid outings from England’s props could swing this result.

READ MORE: England: Anthony Watson starts on wing in only change to starting line-up

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