Rob Evans and Tomas Francis come into Wales side to face England
Dan Biggar and George North both maintain their places after suffering injuries last week
Rhys Webb of Wales talks with team mates Rob Evans and Sam Davies during a training session in Cardiff. Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images
Wales have made two changes to their starting line-up for Saturday’s Six Nations clash against England in Cardiff.
Fly-half Dan Biggar and wing George North, who both suffered injuries during last Sunday’s 33-7 victory against Italy, make the starting XV, while Bath number eight Taulupe Faletau is among the replacements for potentially his first run-out since suffering a knee injury on Christmas Eve.
Evans and Francis bolstered Wales’ scrum when they went on as replacements at Stadio Olimpico, so their appearance in the starting XV this time around is no surprise.
Biggar, meanwhile, took a blow to his ribs in Rome and was forced off at half-time, while North suffered a leg problem early in the action, although he played on and scored a late try.
But after working hard with Wales’ medical staff this week, they will start Saturday’s Principality Stadium encounter.
His props apart, Wales’ interim head coach Rob Howley has retained the team that accounted for Italy 33-7.
“There is huge excitement in the camp ahead of Saturday for what is set to be a massive Six Nations encounter,” Howley said.
“We were really pleased with the result out in Rome, and are looking to build on that performance this weekend.
“Both Rob (Evans) and Tomas (Francis) made a big impact off the bench last weekend and deserve their opportunity to start.
“We have had a short turnaround, but Dan and George have worked hard with the medics and we are pleased to be able to name them.”
One area where Wales would appear to to possess a considerable edge is the back-row.
While England boss Eddie Jones has named a breakaway unit comprising a combined total of 20 caps, the Wales trio of Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty can boast 130 Test match appearances between them, with 62 more caps as bench cover with Faletau.
England, though, are on a 15-match unbeaten run and have won the last three Six Nations Tests against Wales.
WALES: L Halfpenny (Toulon); G North (Northampton), J Davies (Scarlets), S Williams (Scarlets), L Williams (Scarlets); D Biggar (Ospreys), R Webb (Ospreys); R Evans (Scarlets), K Owens (Scarlets), T Francis (Exeter), J Ball (Scarlets), A W Jones (Ospreys, capt), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues), J Tipuric (Ospreys), R Moriarty (Gloucester).
Replacements: S Baldwin (Ospreys), N Smith (Ospreys), S Lee (Scarlets), C Hill (Newport Gwent Dragons), T Faletau (Bath), G Davies (Scarlets), S Davies (Ospreys), J Roberts (Harlequins).