- Get up to speed on when, where and how to watch England v Wales
- Read about the key battles and quotes from each camp
One side stands on the verge of a first Triple Crown in more than a decade, the other can stay in the hunt for a first ever hat-trick of RBS 6 Nations titles. Even beyond the regular rivalry, history weighs so heavy on Sunday’s clash between England and Wales.
Warren Gatland has seen his team limp to victory against Italy and get utterly dismantled in Dublin already this tournament, but a 27-6 thrashing of France was a far more accomplished performance. The New Zealander boasts 12 Test British and Irish Lions in his starting 15, with another two on the bench. Wales have undeniable pedigree.
Photo: Getty Images
A year ago, Stuart Lancaster’s designs on a Grand Slam were obliterated at the Millennium Stadium. A 30-3 defeat sent tremors through the young set-up. However, the last 12 months have brought a steady, assured re-building process and the win over Ireland a fortnight ago suggests the hosts will not be daunted. Emotional and physical intensity will be ramped sky high for this one. We have a very special match on our hands.
When? Sunday, March 9
Where? Twickenham Stadium
Kick-off? 3pm GMT
How to keep up with the action
- Live on BBC 1 from 2.30pm. Regular updates on BBC Five Live
- Live text commentary on the free RFU iPhone app (search iTunes for Official RFU)
- Live score updates from @EnglandRugby on Twitter
- Match report, post-match interviews and highlights on RFU.com
England: 15. Mike Brown, 14. Jack Nowell, 13. Luther Burrell, 12. Billy Twelvetrees, 11. Jonny May, 10. Owen Farrell, 9. Danny Care; 1. Joe Marler, 2. Dylan Hartley, 3. David Wilson, 4. Joe Launchbury, 5. Courtney Lawes, 6. Tom Wood, 7. Chris Robshaw (captain), 8. Ben Morgan.
Replacements: 16. Tom Youngs, 17. Mako Vunipola, 18. Henry Thomas, 19. Dave Attwood, 20. Tom Johnson, 21. Lee Dickson, 22. George Ford, 23. Alex Goode.
Wales: 15. Leigh Halfpenny, 14. Alex Cuthbert, 13. Jonathan Davies, 12. Jamie Roberts, 11. George North, 10. Rhys Priestland, 9. Rhys Webb; 1. Gethin Jenkins, 2. Richard Hibbard, 3. Adam Jones, 4. Jake Ball, 5. Alun-Wyn Jones, 6. Dan Lydiate, 7. Sam Warburton, 8. Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: 16. Ken Owens, 17. Richard Hibbard, 18. Rhodri Jones, 19. Andrew Coombs, 20. Justin Tipuric, 21. Mike Phillips, 22. Dan Biggar, 23. Liam Williams.
- March 2013: Wales 30 England 3, Cardiff
- February 2012: England 12 Wales 19, Twickenham
- August 2011: Wales 19 England 9, Cardiff
- August 2011: England 23 Wales 19, Twickenham
- February 2011: Wales 19 England 26, Cardiff
Photo: Getty Images
Chris Robshaw vs Sam Warburton: Two captains, two number sevens, two talismanic leaders who inspire through sheer industry and dogged desire. Robshaw and Warburton are cut from the same cloth – both affable young men that demand respect. As opensides though, they are extremely different. The Welshman is a groundhog, superb over the ball and especially potent when his mate Dan Lydiate is scything attackers at will. Robshaw hits countless rucks and tackles everything that moves. But to mark him down as just a relentless workhorse is way off the mark. The Harlequin's offloading skills make him central to England's attack as a linkman, too. Boxing experts say contrasting styles make for fascinating fights. The same is true here, and this pair of captains will also require calm authority during an emotional occasion.
Billy Twelvetrees vs Jamie Roberts: Lions tours, 59 Test caps and a 110-kilogram frame. Jamie Roberts is an impressive specimen. More importantly though, he is also the cornerstone of 'Warrenball', Wales' uncomplicated, round-the-corner approach that aims to launch their runners past the gainline. Twelvetrees has started at 12 in seven of the eight Tests since England's mauling at the Millennium and made 18 tackles in the exhausting victory over Ireland. He has a huge role in nullifying his opposite number and not to mention organising the hosts' attack in phase-play.
Danny Care vs Rhys Webb: Entrusted by Lancaster to inject England with the same invention and audacity he demonstrates for Harlequins, Care has been a revelation over the course of the current RBS 6 Nations. Important drop-goals against France and Scotland foreshadowed a fantastic try to beat Ireland and he is in red-hot form. Last time these sides met, England ended a lop-sided contest with just 35 per cent territory. That cannot happen again, and Care must ensure that. Webb is also buoyant, though. The Osprey's whippy service in Wales' comprehensive win over Les Bleus made sure there was no repeat of the clunky, mechanical showing in Dublin and he has enjoyed a new lease of life since returning from a long-term injury at Christmas. This is a fantastic match-up.
Photo: Getty Images
Quotes from the camps
Graham Rowntree (England Forwards Coach): “We speak a lot about the ‘why’, whether that’s in training or in a game. That is about pride in the shirt and what has gone before us. Stuart has worked hard on that – the cause behind why a player should take themselves to a dark place during a game, both physically and mentally.
“Last year’s game hurt. But you have to learn from a game like that. We’ve moved on and our performances have shown that.
“We’re desperate to win the Championship now, and that means we have to beat Wales.”
Warren Gatland (Wales Head Coach): “They [England] are all saying they have learnt some pretty harsh lessons from last year.
“All the talk is that the boys have turned into men and they have grown up and learned. Time will tell, won’t it? We’ll see on Sunday.”
Did you know?
- Wales lock Jake Ball grew up in Australia and was on the verge of becoming a professional cricketer, opening the bowling for Western Australia Under 19
- This is the 125th Anglo-Welsh clash. Each team has won 56 times, with another 12 being drawn
- England have executed 35 offloads during the RBS 6 Nations to date. Wales have managed 23
- Dan Lydiate has made 40 tackles this tournament without missing one
- Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins have 205 Test caps between them. England's entire starting 15 have 323