Eddie Jones has kept faith with England’s starting XV that defeated Ireland at Twickenham on their last outing. So, what does this mean to Wales?
The prospect of the Vunipola v Faletau battle is already making headlines this side of the Severn Bridge. Two huge performers – Vunipola in attack, Faletau in defence – it seems this back-row tussle could prove pivotal. Dan Lydiate and Sam Warburton will need to be equally alert as England’s powerhouse No.8 will take some stopping once he’s on the move. I’d certainly agree that he plays a central role in England’s ability to break the gain line and get on the front foot.
Elsewhere amongst the forwards, George Kruis is having a storming breakthrough season for the men in white. However, I feel Wales will have the upper-hand in this department, with the wiley Alyn Wyn Jones marshalling proceedings.
Out wide, it’s time for Wales to really step up a notch, as I feel the likes of George North and Liam Williams haven’t shifted beyond second gear so far. England will hope to exploit every inch of space on the field through exciting backs Jonathan Joseph, Anthony Watson and Jack Nowell. Joseph in particular has tremendous footwork and will provide a stern test for Wales’ proud defence.
It’s shaping up to be an epic, but I believe that the experienced core of Dan Biggar, Jamie Roberts and Alyn Wyn Jons among others will provide enough of a difference to see the men in red escape Twickenham with the points.
Bring it on! Come on Wales!!