Howarth (far left) is that rare individual who plays better at international level than in the weekly club scene. Since his belated conversion from Kiwi to Cymru he has been little short of outstanding. Angles of entry into the line have been intelligent and effective whilst sense of "get up and go" has rubbed off on those around him. Combines beautifully with Mark Taylor in the wide channels and will set the English midfield all sorts of problems. Also a good back-up place kicker. Perry (left) has blown hot and cold this year but after a sticky mid-season, seems to be coming good. Needs to curb tendency to run every ball back and mix up his game more; but remains England's best chance of establishing a running threat to go alongside traditional power game.
Chris Wyatt v Tim Rodber
Mobile Llanelli lock Wyatt (left, front) has a hell of a game on his hands since he is only genuine jumper in Welsh line-out. England have enough big men to double-team him so that for all Wyatt's movement he will be under great pressure. Without line-out ball any game plan simply can't get going, so an awful lot rests on his shoulders. If Wyatt fires then Wales have a chance. In contrast Rodber will win a fair amount of ball on his own account, but can also look to Johnson and Dallaglio to share the burden; releasing him to roam into the open spaces and indulge in his favourite pastime of running at defenceless backs out wide.
Neil Jenkins v Mike Catt
Neil "I have made a break before you know" Jenkins (above, front) has reinvented himself. Has found a style which allows him to impose his game at international level. Standing up flat, he showed excellent passing skills in Paris which served only to highlight exemplary kicking. Must be comforting to know that any real rubbish can be shipped out for a certain Mr Gibbs to take up. But will he get enough ball? No doubt Mike Catt will, and in recent weeks he has hit a rich vein of form. Always something of a streak player, he will need to nurture an inexperienced threequarter line and vary his game as he did against France. A better player now he doesn't have the goalkicking to worry about. I have a hunch he will produce a big performance.
Mark Taylor v
Taylor is the new Welsh distributor who takes a flat pass from Jenkins and then considers his options while his Swansea team-mate, Scott Gibbs, keeps the inside defence honest. If Wales can win enough ball Taylor (right) could be the man to break down a well-organised English defence. Will certainly relish opportunity to ask questions of Mather (far right) on his debut. The Sale centre is a risky selection as he's had problems with ball retention since his transfer from Castleford and has not always been a first-choice selection, even at club level. Big and powerful, but not that quick, he will not pose the same threat as Guscott. However, expect to see one or two thundering cutback runs from line-outs interspersed with a few miss-passes going across him from Wilkinson and Catt.
M Perry (Bath) 15 S Howarth (Sale)
D Luger (Harlequins) 14 G Thomas (Cardiff)
J Wilkinson (Newcastle) 13 M Taylor (Swansea)
B-J Mather (Sale) 12 S Gibbs (Swansea)
S Hanley (Sale) 11 D James (Pontypridd)
M Catt (Bath) 10 N Jenkins (Pontypridd)
M Dawson (Northampton) 9 R Howley (Cardiff, capt)
J Leonard (Harlequins) 1 P Rogers (London Irish)
R Cockerill (Leicester) 2 G Jenkins (Swansea)
D Garforth (Leicester) 3 B Evans (Swansea)
M Johnson (Leicester) 4 C Quinnell (Richmond)
T Rodber (Northampton) 5 C Wyatt (Llanelli)
R Hill (Saracens) 6 C Charvis (Swansea)
L Dallaglio (Wasps, capt) 8 S Quinnell (Llanelli)
N Back (Leicester) 7 B Sinkinson (Neath)
England: N Beal (Northampton), T Underwood (Newcastle), A Healey (Leicester), V Ubogu (Bath), N McCarthy (Gloucester), G Archer (Newcastle), M Corry (Leicester).
Wales: N Walne (Richmond), N Boobyer (Llanelli), D Llewellyn (Ebbw Vale), M Voyle (Llanelli), D Young (Cardiff), A Lewis (Cardiff), B Williams (Richmond).
Mark Evans is director of rugby at SaracensReuse content