Birthday boy Hallam Amos gets the nod for Wales
Winger will start in place of Alex Cuthbert for Saturday’s pool game against England
Hallam Amos will start instead of Alex Cuthbert on the wing in Wales’ World Cup match against England on Saturday. Photograph: David Davies/PA
The Newport Gwent Dragons back, 21 on Thursday, takes over from Alex Cuthbert, who is on the bench, while there are also starts for Exeter tighthead prop Tomas Francis and Wasps lock Bradley Davies.
Elsewhere, Jamie Roberts and Scott Williams will oppose England’s new-look centre combination of Sam Burgess and Brad Barritt, while Samson Lee and Aaron Jarvis provide prop cover on the bench. Prop Paul James, who suffered a tight calf muscle against Uruguay last Sunday, does not make the match-day 23.
As expected, full-back Liam Williams takes his place in the starting XV after recovering from a knock to the thigh that he suffered against Uruguay.
Like James, Lee experienced a tight calf in the Uruguay match and went off early, but he has been named among the replacements, with York-born Francis wearing the number three shirt.
Lock Davies, meanwhile, has gained the call to be Alun-Wyn Jones’ second-row partner after putting an injury-hit recent history behind him. He was outstanding during Wales’ World Cup warm-up win against Ireland in Dublin last month.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland has decided not to tinker with his tried-and-tested back-row combination of Dan Lydiate, skipper Sam Warburton and number eight Taulupe Faletau, despite flanker Justin Tipuric’s run of impressive form.
There is no place in the 23 for scrum-half Mike Phillips, who was called into Wales’ World Cup squad just over a fortnight ago when Rhys Webb suffered a tournament-ending foot injury.
Scarlets number nine Gareth Davies will make only his second start for Wales, with Cardiff Blues’ Lloyd Williams one of three back-division replacements alongside Cuthbert and fly-half Rhys Priestland.
Elsewhere, 115 times-capped prop Gethin Jenkins will start his fourth World Cup campaign, packing down in the front row alongside Francis and hooker Scott Baldwin.
Gatland said: “Saturday is a huge occasion for both teams and for the tournament, and we are really looking forward to it.
“Both sides kicked their tournament off with a bonus-point win, but we know we will need to step up at Twickenham on Saturday.”
England and Wales have met twice before in World Cup combat, claiming one win each, while the overall series of games between the countries stands at 58-56 in England’s favour.
Wales, though, have beaten England twice at Twickenham during Gatland’s coaching reign, winning 26-19 in 2008 and 19-12 three years ago.
Wales: Liam Williams, George North, Scott Williams, Jamie Roberts, Hallam Amos, Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies, Gethin Jenkins, Scott Baldwin, Tomas Francis, Bradley Davies, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton (Capt), Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: Ken Owens, Aaron Jarvis, Samson Lee, Luke Charteris, Justin Tipuric, Lloyd Williams, Rhys Priestland, Alex Cuthbert.