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George North returns for much-changed Wales to face England

By Josh Raisey
Wales' George North (Photo by Ian Cook/CameraSport via Getty Images)

George North has recovered from the shoulder injury that ruled him out of Wales’ loss to Scotland and will start at outside centre against England at Twickenham on Saturday.

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The experienced midfielder will partner Nick Tompkins after missing the opening round of the Guinness Six Nations due to a shoulder injury picked up when playing for the Ospreys in January.

North’s return in place of Owen Watkin is one of seven changes to the starting XV that agonisingly lost 27-26 to Scotland at the Principality Stadium.

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Head coach Warren Gatland has named a new half-back partnership. With both Gareth Davies and Sam Costelow out of the match day squad, Tomos Williams will start at No9 and Ioan Lloyd will wear the No10 jersey.

The front row has been completely changed as well, with Gareth Thomas returning from injury to start at loosehead in place of the benched Corey Domachowski.

Fixture
Six Nations
England
16 - 14
Full-time
Wales
All Stats and Data

He will partner Keiron Assiratti and Elliot Dee who respectively take over at tighthead and hooker from Leon Brown and Ryan Elias, who drops to the subs. Uncapped prop Archie Griffin is also included in the replacements.

The only change to the starting back five in the pack sees Alex Mann earn his first start for Wales, replacing James Botham who was released from the squad this week after picking up a knee injury.

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Gatland said: “We have been critical and tough on ourselves this week. That first half was nowhere near the standards we expect. We simply cannot start the same way this Saturday.

“We showed in the second half against Scotland what we are capable of. Now it’s about building on that performance and playing with some tempo from the off.

“We have made a few changes to the starting line-up this weekend which gives opportunities to the players coming in. We need to be accurate and keep our discipline.

“This is a massive game, not only because of the history and what it means to everyone in Wales. But it’s an opportunity to get things on track a bit more. England are in a rebuilding phase. We’ll go there with a lot of confidence we can build on that second half and belief.”

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Wales (vs England, Saturday)
15. Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby– 1 cap)
14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 55 caps)
13. George North (Ospreys – 118 caps)
12. Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 33 caps)
11. Rio Dyer (Dragons – 15 caps)
10. Ioan Lloyd (Scarlets – 3 caps)
9. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 54 caps)
1. Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 26 caps)
2. Elliot Dee (Dragons – 47 caps)
3. Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Rugby – 3 caps)
4. Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs – captain, 13 caps)
5. Adam Beard (Ospreys – 52 caps)
6. Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby – 1 cap)
7. Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 14 caps)
8. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 44 caps)

Replacements
16. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 39 caps)
17. Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Rugby – 7 caps)
18. Archie Griffin (Bath Rugby – uncapped)
19. Will Rowlands (Racing 92 – 29 caps)
20. Taine Basham (Dragons – 16 caps)
21. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 18 caps)
22. Cai Evans (Dragons – 1 cap)
23. Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby – 7 caps)

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