Six Nations 2019: England team to play Wales

Eddie Jones

England men’s head coach Eddie Jones has named his team to play in their third Guinness Six Nations match against Wales on Saturday in Cardiff (KO 4.45pm live on BBC).

Jones has made two changes to the starting XV following injuries to Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks) and Mako Vunipola (Saracens) with Exeter Chiefs pair Jack Nowell selected on the right wing and Ben Moon at loosehead prop.

Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby) and Brad Shields (Wasps) are included in the match day 23 for the first time this tournament while Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers) and Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs) are named as finishers.

Owen Farrell (Saracens) will captain England who have won their last five Six Nations matches against Wales.

Eddie Jones said: “England and Wales is always a big game. Intense rivals and there is the historical context to it, but for us it is our most important game because it is our next game and that is how we are treating it.

“Whenever you play against a Warren Gatland side you are playing against a side that is going to be very physical on the gain line. They are always very fit so you have to make sure you win the gain line and then find opportunities of where you are going to attack them.

“As you have read in the media, it’s all about Wales, we are playing potentially the greatest team ever. Their players are full of emotion and it’s the biggest game they are going to play in their lives. We have had a good week just focussing on ourselves and focussing on getting our preparation right.”

On selection Jones added: “Ben Moon will start and Ellis Genge will finish so we will get a great 80 minutes out of those two. It is disappointing to lose a player of the calibre of Mako Vunipola but we have two very good players who will do a great job for us.

“Jack Nowell will start and Joe Cokanasiga will come onto the bench. As we saw in the autumn Joe is a player of great potential so we are looking forward to him adding to the squad.

“Brad Shields comes in for Nathan Hughes as a finisher as we just feel like it is going to be a high work-rate game.”

England starting XV (509 caps)

15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 27 caps)
14 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 31 caps)
13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 19 caps)
12 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 29 caps)
11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 42 caps)
10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 67 caps) (captain)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 82 caps)

1 Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs, 5 caps)
2 Jamie George (Saracens, 34 caps)
3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 19 caps)
4 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 70 caps)
5 George Kruis (Saracens, 29 caps)
6 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 10 caps)
7 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 7 caps)
8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 38 caps)

Finishers (147 caps)

16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 9 caps)
17 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 6 caps)
18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 16 caps)
19 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 55 caps)
20 Brad Shields (Wasps, 5 caps)
21 Dan Robson (Wasps, 1 cap)
22 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 53 caps)
23 Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 2 caps)

25 thoughts on “Six Nations 2019: England team to play Wales

  1. Great starting XV and lots of impact from the bench. Shields over Hughes: positive; Williams over Cole: positive; Big Joe on the bench *Darth Vader* POWAAAA.




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  2. I like it and am very happy to see Shields on the bench over Hughes! Finally a balance in the subs as well as on the field.
    If I were to have one quibble, I’d have had Brown on the bench to cover Daly if he has a bad day under the high ball, but it’s a minor thing as am also v excited to see Cokasaniga show what he can do
    Think this will be a close tough game, but this is a good looking England team so I am quietly optimistic




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    1. May I ask why you – and many other people it seems – are convinced that Daly is vulnerable “under the high ball”. Genuine question. Because I’ve always found him to be defensively solid and don’t remember any outrageous high-ball howlers. Are there specific examples?

      Even if it is the case, I’d still stick with him for his attacking threat and monster boot, but I am curious about this alleged aerial defensive weakness, which seems to be a popular opinion.




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      1. You don’t need the errors to be outrageous howlers for a player to be vunerable under the high ball – just for them to be fumbled or missed due to poor positioning or timing. The only specific instance I can think of is the kick before Itoje’s yellow in the SA game. However my memory tells me there have been several instances, both whilst playing on the wing and at fullback
        I felt the same about Watson at fullback




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        1. See I can visualise Watson getting his positioning wrong a few times and fumbling a couple of routine catches, (by the same measure I can’t think of specific examples), but I just don’t recall Daly doing the same.

          Fair enough though, will be watching him closely tomorrow, (with my fingers crossed).




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    1. This game will show us if jones, mitchell, et al, have a plan B and maybe even a plan C.
      As you say MrB, we can’t keep doing the same old same old. By September every team in the world will have worked us out!
      Having said all that, I really do wonder just how much of a one off this game is, a bit like a World cup semi or similar. Expect the unexpected.




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    2. I think it is more difficult to prepare for this type of aerial bombardment than we think. The kicking has been pretty varied so far, and to cover all the options Wales (or whomever) will have to fill the backfield with several players to give options of how to play the ball out. This is where it gets tricky because in filling the back field with said players will leave big gaps in the defensive line.
      So far both Ireland and France have had a pretty solid defensive lines, leaving just one or two players back (or sometimes none) to field the kicks, not leaving any holes and therefore the kick is the best option. If they put more than two players in the back field then the holes will appear and England will run the ball and look to exploit the holes, thus giving the opposition a conundrum. Do we fill the back field with more players to field the unpredictable kicking game, or hold fast with a solid line and trust in the likes of Williams and Anscombe etc?
      S do we need to change the game plan? I would say no, unless the game plan is not working and then we need a plan B. Interesting to see if Eddie has one, we know that Gatland doesn’t!




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      1. Dazza, although you make it seem simple about England’s effecting their kicking game & Wales being beggered if they do or don’t defend it with numbers back. However, surely it will depend on whom has sufficient possession & uses it most efficiently. A sage here stated that possession is no longer king. Well, that depends significantly on how well it’s used. If England dominate this area, they should win, but if Wales do so..? Also you read far too much into 2 games, the 2nd of which, v Fr, surely told England little. V Ireland, England’s ‘D’ held more sway than Ireland’s as the
        latter’s kicking was inaccurate, too far. You appear to a suggest that a robotic kicking strategy will likely be all that England need deploy, although OTOH, if it doesn’t work you wonder about a man ‘B’. Staggy mentioned England’s ‘playing what was in front of them’, which I didn’t see that they’d particularly done (esp v Fr). They didn’t need to, but if it comes down to England being significantly put on the back foot, it might be that they face the same dilemma that you foresee Wales facing. Certainly need to consider alt WC options in future methinks. Having stated that, I don’t envisage Wales dominating enough for long enough to ultimately prevail, but we’ll see. Also, by alluding to Gatland’s having no plan ‘B’, well others here seemed to disagree following the Lion’s NZ tour. Were you 1 of the them @ that time I wonder?




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          1. I’m not sure there has been anything ‘robotic’ about England’s kicking – if anything it has been the opposite, entirely tailored to the situation, part of the strategy and certainly not something done just for the sake of it.
            Also not sure you can claim that England didn’t play what was in front of them vs France. What was in front of them was 2 centres on the wings and a winger at fullback – and they exploited it ruthlessly




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            1. Pablito, been through this. Try ‘mechanically’ then.
              V a Fr team whom have won only 3 of 18, couldn’t beat Fiji @ home or knock the skin off a rice pud & which was evident pretty early on against England, wasn’t this a golden op missed to vary it up with the vaunted May’s & Daly’s attack by their entering the line for instance? Or Farrell’s trying the odd wrap around? Foresight lacking? ‘Playing what is on front of them’ may manifest itself somewhat differently in Japan’s WC 1/4’s & semis don’t you think? Trick missed for tradition’s sake for me, although no skin off mine. Perhaps on the contrary, will it prove to be off yr’s though? Time’ll tell.




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    3. Perhaps Mr.B, but will England be ready for Anscombe’s up & unders? Or will he run it? Or mix it up? Or will he even get enough ball? That, is the real?




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  3. Really happy to see Shields and Cokanasiga on the bench. Was sure we would see Brown in the 23 but I’m glad Eddie has shown faith in Daly. What we need to remember is that with Daly, Nowell and May we have a back three who have all played wing, full back and 13 at top level, as they’ve all played those positions for their respective clubs.
    It is also a serious bench with the likes of Launchbury, Genge and Cokanasiga ready to run full steam at the Welsh and get them retreating. This is going to be a good game and a big test for both teams.

    Also got to say I love how Eddie is pointing out they hype that Wales have laid upon themselves for this match. Love the mind games!!




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    1. D(D). The back 3 may have all played @ f/back for their clubs, but it should be pointed out that none are what you could call seasoned 15’s @ Int’al level. In fact, it could even be argued that, internationally, they’re all manufactured f/backs. Regrds hype, isn’t Eddie calling this ‘the gr8est Welsh team ever’? A couple of ponderables @ least?




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  4. Potentially quite some impact from that bench!

    Also quite happy that he has gone with the stability of Moon in the front row to start as well.

    Has the potential to be an epic contest.




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    1. According to the ST’s, MJR, Ireland dominated almost all the stats.. except on the scoreboard. Is that yr point? Unsure re Fr, although I was surprised about their amount of possession?




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