rbs 6 nations wales england

RBS 6 Nations: Wales v England Preview

Wales will be licking their lips viewing England’s injury ravaged preparations for the opening Six Nations fixture at the Millennium Stadium on Friday (February 6).

In front of a passionate crowd, they will be looking to take advantage and give England a jolly good spanking.

Sent back across the border tail between legs.

A bit of a lesson ahead of the sides clashing in the far more important World Cup this autumn.

Anything for an edge in the Group of Death.

But England are still confident of victory despite the squad’s massive injury crisis – virtually a whole team out.

So says recalled veteran Nick Easter.

It’s a huge call by the Harlequin.

Missing are big players Owen Farrell, Brad Barritt, Geoff Parling, Joe Launchbury, Ed Slater, Ben Morgan Manu Tuilagi and Courtney Lawes.

Stuart Lancaster, the England head coach, will be bemoaning his luck.

Or will he?

Perversely it could mean many of his top selections are fresh when the World Cup comes round instead of tired and jaded after a long season.

The question is – have England got enough strength in depth to perform in both despite the casualties?

Easter noted: “The strength in depth in rugby in this country is fantastic.

“We’re equipped to deal with that. There are a number of guys who have been blooded by Stuart in the last three years, so they’re quite confident of these guys stepping up, which will have to be the case because of the injuries.”

Indeed, the prospect of a World Cup place is a massive incentive – if you can’t aspire to greatness when that challenge is put in your face then you shouldn’t be wearing the white jersey anyhow.

Somebody, maybe more than one, will come through to take the opportunity by the scruff of the neck.

Expect the forward battle to be ferocious.

But can England perform against a Welsh backline with so much flair.

Despite Farrell being out, England have the solid George Ford and the mercurial Danny Cipriani at fly half.

Ford is tough and determined; Cipriani has the sort of rare magic you hope won’t go to waste. Surely Lancaster will give him some time on the pitch. We need to find out whether he can be England’s Dan Carter.

England have any number of terrific wings but can they find a centre partnership that gels – defensive solidity but ability to make breaks.

You win games up front but it is with his centre choices that Lancaster will sink or swim. He needs to be brave.

Come what may England will certainly believe they can win, determined to go to Twickenham with Triple Crown chances intact.

Wales will be favourites but that might just take some pressure off England.

Given the circumstances, a very difficult outcome to call.

What’s your take on Cipriani – genius or flawed genius?