England v Wales in Cardiff
Venue: Millennium Stadium
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
The 6 Nations International Championship is played between England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France and Italy. The tournament will be played over 5 rounds from early February ‘till the middle of March. The team with the most points is the winner and if they win all their matches they are credited with the ‘Grand Slam’. These rugby test matches will give some indication of the chances of these teams in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, played later in the year.
Friday night is the opening match. England will travel to Cardiff, a ground they have not won on since 2003. Wales last won the 6 Nations title in 2008 whilst England last won the title back in 2003. Both sides struggled last year and both have struggled in the November tests.
Wales perhaps has made the least headway in international rugby since that great win in 2008. They have an exciting backline that can stretch the opposition when on attack. It’s in the forwards where Wales struggle to dominate the opposition. They pushed New Zealand in their November test.
For todays game they are without key players due to injury, especially in the front row.
England appeared to make some ground last November after a long record of indifferent performances since they won the 2007 Rugby World Cup. In November they defeated Australia but then lost to South Africa. With new and exciting players in the backline, they are certainly the team to watch. This match will be crucial in determining if the progress will continue.
Last Five Encounters
06.02.2010 England 30-17 at Twickenham (6 Nations)
14.02.2009 Wales 23-15 in Cardiff ( 6 Nations)
02.02.2008 Wales 26-19 at Twickenham (6 Nations)
14.08.2007 England 62-5 at Twickenham (World Cup Warm-up
17.03.2007 Wales 27-18 in Cardiff (6 Nations)
England last won in Cardiff in 2003, a 43-9 victory in a Rugby World Cup warm-up game.
GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-England 2nd, Wales 9th
Europe Table-England 3rd, Wales 5th
IRB Ranking Points
England 82.48, Wales 77.04
England by 15 points
15 James Hook, 14 Morgan Stoddart, 13 James Roberts, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Andrew Powell, 7 Samuel Warburton, 6 Danial Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Craig Mitchell, 2 Matthew Rees, Capt. 1 Paul James.
16 Richard Hibbard, 17 John Yapp, 18 Ryan Jones, 19 Jonathan Thomas, 20 Dwayne Peel, 21 Rhys Priestland, 22 Lee Byrne.
Head Coach: Warren Gatland
Priestland, if he comes off the bench.
Not a record, but Stephen Jones will be playing his 96th test for Wales.
Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins (props), Leigh Halfpenny (wing), George North (wing), Thomas Shanklin (centre), Andrew Bishop (centre), Richard Rees (scrum half).
15 Benjamin Foden, 14 Christopher Ashton, 13 Michael Tindall, Capt. 12 Shontayne Hape, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Tobias Flood, 9 Benjamin Youngs, 8 Nicholas Easter, 7 James Haskell, 6 Thomas Wood, 5 Thomas Palmer, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Daniel Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
16 Steven Thompson, 17 David Wilson, 18 Simon Shaw, 19 Joseph Worsley, 20 Daniel Care, 21 Jonny Wilkinson, 22 Matthew Banahan.
Head Coach: Martin Johnson
When Simon Shaw takes the field on Friday night he will be, as far as I find out, the second oldest rugby test player for England. Shaw will be 37 years, 5 months and 4 days old. The record is held by F.G.Gilbert who was 38 years, 11 months and 28 days old when he appeared against Ireland in 1923.
Courtney Lawes (lock), Thomas Croft (flanker), Lewis Moody (flanker and captain)
Delon Armitage (ban)