Wales v England at Twickenham (World Cup Warm Up)
Referee: Steven Walsh (Australia)
A lot has been made in the media this week connected with Jonny Wilkinson playing in this test match. He is a must for England at the Rugby World Cup but after that his place in the team is in jeopardy under the new qualification regulations put in place by the Rugby Union. Only domestic-based players will be eligible for England after the World Cup. Wilkinson has just signed a new contract with French club Toulon. The question is, is this the last time he will play a test at Twickenham?
Another little cloud hanging over the England camp is that of the captaincy. Lewis Moody is the captain for this game but Rugby World Cup captaincy appears to be undecided. Johnson insists he will pick his 30 players first and then the captain. So places and the captaincy is up for grabs.
In other areas for England the opportunity for players to make that final squad is reflected in the make up of this team. Centre Manu Tuilagi makes his England debut whilst on the bench lock Botha and wing Sharples could earn their first test caps. Also of interest is the return of prop Matt Stevens who will play his first test match since 2008 and the recall of Thomas Croft who last played a test last year.
Welsh legend and flyhalf Stephen Jones will make his 101st test appearance for Wales passing Gareth Thomas’s record. Lock Alun-Wyn Jones will play his 50th test. There are changes though in this side from that that played against the Barbarians in June. As with the other 6 Nations side taking the field today there are places up for grabs
Last Five Encounters
04.02.2011 England 26-19 in Cardiff (6 Nations)
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)
GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-England 5th, Wales 10th
Europe Table-England 2nd, Wales 5th
IRB Ranking Points
England 82.41, Wales 79.55
Prediction: England by 16
15 Delon Armitage, 14 Matthew Banahan, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Daniel Care, 8 James Haskell, 7 Lewis Moody, Capt.
6 Thomas Croft, 5 Thomas Palmer, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Matthew Stevens, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Alexander Corbisiero.
16 Lee Mears, 17 David Wilson, 18 Mouritz Botha, 19 Thomas Wood, 20 Richard Wigglesworth, 21 Charles Hodgson, 22 Charles Sharples.
Head Coach: Martin Johnson
15 Rhys Priestland, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 James Roberts, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Michael Phillips, 8 Tobias Faletau, 7 Samuel Warburton, Capt. 6 Daniel Lydiate, 5 Alun-Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Craig Mitchell, 2 Huw Bennett, 1 Paul James.
16 Lloyd Burns, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Luke Charteris, 19 Ryan Jones, 20 Tavis Knoyle, 21 Scott Williams, 22 Morgan Stoddart.
Head Coach: Warren Gatland