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Can disjointed Wales beat near-flawless England in Cardiff?

WALES host England in the third round of the Six Nations this Saturday, in what could be the deciding game of the championship. 

England produced a nearly flawless performance at Twickenham against France, putting 44 points on the board, including a first half hat-trick for Jonny May.  

Wales, on the other hand, looked very disjointed in their win in Rome – still winning 15-26 – it was a disappointing performance in what should have been Wales’ easiest fixture this championship.

Warren Gatland’s side extended their unbeaten run to 11 games with that victory in Rome, and should they beat England, they would be unbeaten for a calendar year.  

However, Gatland will have several selection headaches ahead of the clash at the Principality even with this incredible run of form. 

The first one being who to start at fly-half?  

With Northampton fly-half Dan Biggar, looking out of sorts against Italy, it could mean Gareth Anscombe starts at 10. 

Leigh Halfpenny has returned to training this week, and should he be fit for duty is expected to start at 15. Yet, Liam Williams has performed well in the role, allowing Josh Adams to impress on the wing in Halfpenny’s absence.  

Having not played a professional game since Australia in November, many will ask if the Scarlets man deserves to make the starting XV. 

England head coach Eddie Jones has said: “We’re playing the greatest Welsh side ever, so we know we’re going to have to be at our best,” all be it with a wry smile on his face.  

England have looked very impressive. A shock win in Dublin followed by an assertive win in Paris, means they are now the favourites to win the tournament.  

Owen Farrell has been key, and Wales will have to stop the Saracens’ man who has already scored 29 points alone this championship. 

Henry Slade at centre, and Jonny May on the wing have been England’s main attacking outlets, and that coupled with the power that England’s pack bring, means Wales will have their work cut out in defence.  

The one consolation for Wales will be that Mako Vunipola, who had been superb in the first two matches, has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament. Maro Itoje could be fit to play after initially being ruled out for the clash.  

  • Wales v England, Saturday, February 23, Principality Stadium Cardiff, KO: 4.45pm
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