Six Nations: Wales v England match preview

A look ahead to this weekend’s Six Nations fixture at the Millennium Stadium

England will be hoping that last week’s stuttering
performance against a spirited Italian side has banished any danger of
complacency this weekend as they go in search of an elusive Grand Slam.

Wales will need Leigh Halfpenny, the top points scorer so far in the 2013 Six Nations, to be on top form and his head-to-head kicking battle with England’s Owen Farrell looks like being an interesting one.

Wales may feel they have an edge in the front row, where they certainly have more experience, and they will surely try to make that tell in order to put the pressure on England.

Both side’s back rows are formidable with all the players looking to be in contention for this summer’s Lions tour.

In fact the two sides are fairly evenly matched all over the park so it will be fascinating to see whether the experience of Wales or the youthful confidence of England will emerge victorious.

 

LINE-UPS...

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, George North; Dan Biggar, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins (c), Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Ian Evans, Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric, Toby Faletau

Replacements: Ken Owens, Paul James, Scott Andrews, Andrew Coombs, Aaron Shingler, Lloyd Williams, James Hook, Scott Williams

 

England - Alex Goode; Chris Ashton, Manu Tuilagi, Brad Barritt, Mike Brown; Owen Farrell,  Ben Youngs; Joe Marler, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Geoff Parling, Tom Croft, Chris Robshaw (c), Tom Wood.

Replacements: Dylan Hartley, Dave Wilson, Mako Vunipola, Courtney Lawes, James Haskell, Danny Care, Toby Flood, Billy Twelvetrees

 

KICK-OFF: Saturday, 5pm

 

PAST THREE MEETINGS...

England 12-19 Wales, February 2012

Wales 19-26 England, February 2011

England 30-17 Wales, February 2010

 

STATS...

Wales have not won at the Millennium Stadium in their last 5 attempts, but have won 8 of their last 9 Six Nations Matches.

England are going for their first Grand Slam in a decade but are now 5 games unbeaten and have won their last 5 away matches in the Six Nations.

Out of the last 10 Six Nations matches between the 2 sides, both teams have won 5 matches each, but Wales have won 4 out the last 6

 

PLAYER TO WATCH...

Wales: Sam Warburton – Freed from the responsibility of captaincy this Saturday, Warburton – man of the match in Wales’ last outing at Murrayfield – will be free to focus on his own game. His back row battle with England skipper Chris Robshaw will be fascinating with both players hoping to establish themselves as first choice for this summer’s Lions tour.

England: Manu Tuilagi – The young centre was monstrous against France, despite almost having his ear ripped off in the first minute, and England fans will be hoping he can repeat that performance. His match up with Jamie Roberts in the Welsh midfield looks set to be a bruising encounter and given the Welshman’s relatively quiet tournament so far, Tuilagi will have high hopes of coming out on top.

 

CLASSIC MATCH...

Sunday, April 11, 1999 - Wales 32-31 England

In the last ever Five Nations Championship, England were denied the title by Wales in the very last minute of the game. Scott Gibbs side-stepped five England players to score a fantastic solo try before Neil Jenkins added the winning conversion. The last Five Nations trophy went to Scotland.

 

TV: Live on BBC One, 3pm

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