England v Wales - story of the match

Doug Mendoza
February 11, 2018

EDDIE JONES HAS made two changes to his starting XV as England get set to take on Wales at Twickenham on Saturday [KO: 4.45pm, live on TV3].

Gatland, as Welsh coach, has only recently enjoyed success against the Springboks, with two successive wins against the Springboks and three in total in his tenure. "There are a few threats we've got to be looking at handling, but it's still about ourselves as well".

England are unbeaten at home under Eddie Jones and have yet to lose against Wales when being managed by the Australian.

So satisfied was coach Warren Gatland with his boys that he had no hesitation in naming an unchanged starting 15 so early in the week and that means having 10 Scarlets players, including six of the seven backs.

Jones has transformed the dispirited squad he inherited from Stuart Lancaster in November 2015, following a forgettable home Rugby World Cup, into a winning machine.

Despite Wales clawing their way back into contention with a valiant second-half display after England's fast start, captain Alun Wyn Jones said it had been too little too late.

The tightness on that occasion was typical of their recent encounters.

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With the absence of Ben Youngs, Danny Care deputises to equal Matt Dawson's record number of 77 appearances for an England scrum-half.

However, even England legends Sir Clive Woodward and Johnny Wilkinson felt that Wales have every right to be angry at the decision. It will be different to playing against Scotland.

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"They've got a strong 15, a strong 23 or 24, but we'll have to face them off".

The Welsh squad includes 10 players who have tasted victory at Twickenham.

And Jones made sure he knows what to expect ahead of the clash at Twickenham by questioning his "bottle".

But Jones said Joseph's sheer speed would provide Patchell with a tougher test. "It's not a great sight", Jones says.

"We have an unbelievably young back line in terms of age and in terms of experience and they'll grow and learn from today". They are really going to test us.

The 24-year-old fly-half was outstanding in the 34-7 rout of Scotland in round one but Wales were unburdened by expectation due to the loss of a host of Test British and Irish Lions to the treatment room.

"Patchell will have to find guys around him to help because he'll be under some heat".

"I think they [Wales] played well, and they are definitely confident and cocky".

There is a level of pressure which comes with that and, by brining more petrol to the mind game fire than Gatland this week, Jones is clearly trying to deflate the expectation, especially with chinks still evident in the England armour. "I thought the execution of the game plan by the players was absolutely outstanding and our application of courage and effort in defence was first class".

England: M Brown; A Watson, J Joseph, O Farrell, J May; G Ford, D Care; M Vunipola, D Hartley, D Cole, J Launchbury, M Itoje, C Lawes, C Robshaw, S Simmonds.

Other reports by GizPress

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