Appropriately, Paul Moriarty - no mean schoolboy football player himself - will be Wales' captain as they try to retain their title. He succeeds David Young, an ever-present in recent Welsh sides, who tore ankle ligaments in France three weeks ago. The other injury news for Wales is mixed. Anthony Sullivan is fit to play on one wing, but Gerald Cordle misses out, with Jason Critchley moving to the flank and Allan Bateman, fresh from Australia, in the centre.
"We still think it is a pretty strong side," said a wary England coach, Phil Larder. "We always think Wales are likely to be formidable on home soil. They will certainly play with a lot of passion.''
For once, however, that passion is unlikely to be quite enough. Despite the loss of Martin Offiah, Paul Newlove and Karl Harrison from his first- choice side, Larder has a team of true international calibre at his disposal.
WALES: P Atcheson (Oldham Bears); A Sullivan (St Helens), A Bateman (Cronulla), G Davies (Warrington), J Critchley (Keighley Cougars); I Harris (Warrington), I Watson (Salford Reds); M Jones (Warrington), K Cunningham (St Helens), N Cowie (Wigan), P Moriarty (South Wales, capt), M Perrett (Halifax Blue Sox), C Morley (St Helens). Substitutes: D Edwards (Castleford Tigers), M Hall (Wigan), R Phillips (Workington Town), R Webster (Salford Reds).
ENGLAND: S Prescott (St Helens); J Robinson (Wigan), G Connolly (Wigan), N McAvoy (Salford Reds), J Bentley (Halifax Blue Sox); D Powell (Keighley Cougars), S Edwards (Wigan); P Broadbent (Sheffield Eagles), J Lawless (Sheffield Eagles), S Molloy (Featherstone Rovers), C Joynt (St Helens), P Sculthorpe (Warrington), A Farrell (Wigan, capt). Substitutes: B Goulding (St Helens), S Blakeley (Salford Reds), B McDermott (Leeds), M Cassidy (Wigan).
Referee: W Harrigan (Australia).Reuse content