Eddie Jones has made two changes to his starting England XV to face Wales on Saturday in the Guinness Six Nations. The English swept aside Ireland in their round three encounter, but coach Jones has opted to alter his selection to face the Welsh at Twickenham.
Fit-again Anthony Watson replaces Jonathan Joseph, an inclusion that results in Jonny May swopping from right to left-wing. Watson was scheduled to start the Six Nations opener against France but suffered a setback in his recovery from a calf injury incurred on Bath duty.
Watson replaces Joseph, who drops out of the 23 altogether a fortnight after winning his 50th cap against Ireland. Meanwhile, an unspecified injury to Sam Underhill sees Mark Wilson picked at openside flanker despite having made only one start for Sale this season due to a knee issue. Wilson will line-up with Courtney Lawes and Tom Curry in the back row.
Wilson came into the England camp for the first time last week after proving his fitness for Sale and is preferred ahead of Lewis Ludlam, who missed out on a bench spot as Jones has once again opted for a six-two split between forwards and backs.
In an unchanged tight five, Joe Marler, Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler are named in the front row with George Kruis and Maro Itoje in partnership in the second row. Ben Youngs starts at scrum-half with George Ford at fly-half. Captain Owen Farrell will play inside centre with Manu Tuilagi named at outside centre. Watson and May on the wings are accompanied by Elliot Daly at full-back.
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The bench remains unaltered. Hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie, as well as props Ellis Genge and Will Stuart, are named as finishers alongside Joe Launchbury, Charlie Ewels, Ben Earl, Willi Heinz and Henry Slade. Jones said: “We’ve had a really good two-week preparation – a fallow week in Oxford where we had good training days last Thursday and Friday and three good training days this week culminating in a very good session Wednesday.
“Wales are a very tough, well-coached side and they’ve been building on their attack since Wayne Pivac has taken over. It’s always a tough game against Wales and we know they will bring that toughness to all the contest areas. We’re looking forward to playing at home again and getting back out in front of our fantastic fans.”
England starting XV
15 Elliot Daly (Saracens, 42 caps)
14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 42 caps)
13 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 42 caps)
12 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 82 caps) C
11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 55 caps)
10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 68 caps)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 98 caps)
1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 70 caps)
2 Jamie George (Saracens, 48 caps)
3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 34 caps)
4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 37 caps)
5 George Kruis (Saracens, 44 caps)
6 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 84 caps)
7 Mark Wilson (Sale Sharks, 18 caps)
8 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 22 caps)
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 23 caps)
17 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 17 caps)
18 Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 2 caps)
19 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 64 caps)
20 Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 14 caps)
21 Ben Earl (Saracens, 2 caps)
22 Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 12 caps)
23 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 28 caps)
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