Eddie Jones has made two changes to his England side as the defending Six Nations champions head to Cardiff to face Wales – for one of the most anticipated and historic fixtures in world rugby.
After a tense opener against France, where a late Ben Te’o score secured a record breaking 15th consecutive Test Match victory, Jones has recalled Jack Nowell and Jack Clifford to the side.
Nowell was one of the substitutes to make a major impact from the bench last weekend and he has ousted Jonny May on the left wing – who drops to the bench. The Exeter Chiefs flyer has been in fine form since returning from injury and his return will be a major boost to the side.
Elsewhere Clifford makes his first Six Nations start for England, with Tom Wood dropping to the bench. The Harlequins flanker will bring some much needed energy and ball carrying ability to the back-row.
Jones said on Clifford’s inclusion, “He is a hard-working, young player. He has got a good record against Wales, he had a superb game against them in May, he knows what he is going to expect and we’re looking forward to him making an impact in our back-row play.”
Alongside Maro Itoje and Nathan Hughes, Clifford will form part of an exciting but inexperienced back-row. James Haskell is not considered ready for starting position and will again be looking to make a huge impact off the bench as one of England’s ‘finishers’.
England and Jones ready for ‘one of the biggest games in world rugby’
After Ireland’s defeat to Scotland in week one of the Six Nations, England know that a victory will put them in pole position for a second Grand Slam in two-years.
And Jones says his side are ready for the challenge ahead saying: “It’s been a great week of focused preparation and we can’t wait to play Wales.
“Playing Wales in Cardiff is one of the biggest games in world rugby and we’re excited. These are the games you want to be part of as a player and a coach.
“It’s a game that is going to be decided on the basics of the game. You do the fundamentals of the game well and you win the game of rugby. We have a young team eager to play well at the great Principality Stadium.”
England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Joe Marler, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 3 Dan Cole, 4 Joe Launchbury, 5 Courtney Lawes, 6 Maro Itoje, 7 Jack Clifford 8 Nathan Hughes
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Tom Wood, 20 James Haskell, 21 Danny Care, 22 Ben Te’o, 23 Jonny May
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