New midfield, new beginning?
Riki Flutey and Manu Tuilagi – an odd couple for England, to be sure, hailing from Wairarapa in New Zealand, and Fatausi-Fagapoa in Samoa respectively – gave at least a hint that there is an alternative pairing to Shontayne Hape (another New Zealander) and Mike Tindall. They were not so solid defensively but in attack, while Flutey was quiet, Tuilagi burst through for an exciting try.
Can Jonny still cut it from the start?
In his first England appearance from the off for 17 months, the French-based fly-half proved his selection as back-up to Toby Flood is more than sentimental. A trademark skip to fox the Welsh and a snapped pass sent Tuilagi through for the centre's try. The goal-kicking was 100 per cent accurate, with a drop-goal off each foot.
Is Simon Shaw out of time?
Out of contract at Wasps, Shaw would like to go to the World Cup before working out where to go next. He will turn 38 in September, but his bulk on the right hand of the scrum could still be handy, considering England will face big forwards in the pool against Argentina, Georgia and Romania. His strength yesterday stemmed one Welsh drive and helped towards James Haskell's try from a scrum.
Can Wales's forwards cope?
Without their injured captain and hooker, Matthew Rees – or even with him – Wales's line-out is a worry. Tapping back over their own line was all the help England's ravenous eight needed – a try for Haskell from the scrum was the end result. Urgent remedial work is required by Warren Gatland, himself a former hooker.
One tan short of a salon – whither Gavin Henson?
While Wales were finishing a second training camp in the cryotheraphy chambers of Poland last week, Henson was given a couple of days' grace to continue filming The Bachelor in sunny St Lucia. He may yet get a run-out in the warm-ups, but Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies and the fast-emerging Scott Williams must be likelier centre selections now.Reuse content