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Preview: Wales v England

Preview: Wales v England

Wales v england

One of rugby’s oldest rivalries is to be reignited on Saturday as Wales welcome England to Principality Stadium.

It is a fixture guaranteed to set pulses racing and this reunion is no different, with both sides looking to get their Summer Nations Series campaigns off to a strong start.

For the individuals on show, the clash offers a chance to lay down a World Cup marker while Wales are gunning for revenge having been beaten 20-10 by England when the two sides met in Cardiff during the Guinness Six Nations earlier this year.

Team news

Leigh Halfpenny will join an exclusive club this weekend as he becomes the ninth Welshman to reach 100 caps for his country.

The full-back is part of a backline combining youth and experience, with 113-cap George North joined by debutant Max Llewellyn in midfield.

READ MORE: What are the teams for Wales v England?

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Llewellyn is not the only player in the home side making his international bow, with uncapped props Corey Domachowski and Keiron Assiratti named in Warren Gatland’s starting XV. Jac Morgan will captain his country at senior level for the first time.

Steve Borthwick hands a debut to Tom Pearson in England’s back row, the new Northampton Saint rewarded for his impressive club form in a London Irish shirt last season.

Marcus Smith gets the nod at fly-half, with no place in the matchday 23 for Owen Farrell, and will link up with Harlequins clubmate Danny Care, who takes the no.9 jersey.

Saracens duo Theo Dan and Tom Willis are both in line to win their first caps off the bench.

Ones to watch

Sam Costelow earmarked himself as one to watch with a string of standout displays in the Under-20 Six Nations three years ago but his progress through to the senior ranks has not been as smooth as may have been expected thus far.

However, he shone for Scarlets last season and made his Wales bow off the bench against New Zealand in the 2022 Autumn Nations Series. He will win his third cap this weekend, from the start on this occasion, and his battle with Marcus Smith will be one to savour.

READ MORE: Coffee date – Mason Grady

For the visitors, Freddie Steward arrives with fond memories of the Welsh capital having picked up the Player of the Match award during England’s Guinness Six Nations success in February.

The Leicester Tigers man is joined by clubmate Guy Porter in Borthwick’s back line and both will be eager to seize their opportunities.

Stat attack

  • England have won four of their last five Test matches against Wales (L1), including each of their last two – the team leading at half time has gone on to win each of the last seven Test matches between these two sides.
  • Wales have won just one of their last seven Test matches (L6), with each of their last four losses having all come by margins of 10+points, however, Wales have scored 28+ points in each of their last two matches after scoring a combined total of just 27 points across their previous three.
  • Wales have won just one of their last eight Test matches at Principality Stadium (L7) and have lost each of their last four, their longest losing streak at home since a run of five between November 2012 and February 2013 which they broke with a 27-point win against England in March 2013 (30-3).


Wales: 15. Leigh Halfpenny, 14. Louis Rees-Zammit, 13. George North, 12. Max Llewellyn, 11. Rio Dyer, 10. Sam Costelow, 9. Gareth Davies, 1. Corey Domachowski, 2. Ryan Elias, 3. Keiron Assiratti, 4. Dafydd Jenkins, 5. Will Rowlands, 6. Christ Tshiunza, 7. Jac Morgan, 8. Aaron Wainwright

Replacements: 16. Elliot Dee, 17. Nicky Smith, 18. Henry Thomas, 19. Ben Carter, 20. Taine Plumtree, 21. Tomos Williams, 22. Dan Biggar, 23. Mason Grady

England: 15. Freddie Steward, 14. Max Malins, 13. Joe Marchant, 12. Guy Porter 11. Joe Cokanasiga, 10. Marcus Smith, 9. Danny Care; 1. Ellis Genge ©, 2. Jamie Blamire, 3. Will Stuart, 4. David Ribbans, 5. George Martin, 6. Lewis Ludlam, 7. Tom Pearson, 8. Alex Dombrandt

Replacements: 16. Theo Dan, 17. Bevan Rodd, 18. Kyle Sinckler, 19. Jonny Hill, 20. Tom Willis, 21. Jack van Poortvliet, 22. George Ford, 23. Henry Slade


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