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Biggest game yet: England v Wales preview

samDefending champions Wales face England in the Six Nations on Sunday knowing they have to win to keep their ambitions of an unprecedented third title alive.

Wales have an impressive recent record over England, having beaten them on the last three occasions without conceding a try, but the holders cannot take anything for granted in London on Sunday.

Traditionally Wales struggled at Twickenham but have won two and lost two at the home of English rugby since 2008.

Both sides go into the match with two wins and one defeat so far in this season’s tournament.

This will be their 125th meeting, with England looking for revenge after last year’s 30-3 defeat at the Millennium Stadium which clinched the title for Wales.

England, Wales, Ireland and France are all level on four points at the top of the Six Nations table with another two rounds of the tournament left to play, meaning the winner of Sunday’s clash could go on to win the tournament on the final day on March 15.

Wales are looking for their third consecutive Six Nations title while England are bidding for only their second in 11 years.

The big team news this week was Scarlets’ Jonathan Davies’ inclusion in the Wales side for the first time since November.

The centre has played only two halves of rugby for Scarlets since suffering a pectoral injury against South Africa, but has been deemed fit to play by the Welsh coaching staff.

Davies’s partner in the centres, Jamie Roberts, has impressed so far in this year’s championship, and this will be the first time the pair have played alongside each since the Lions’ third test win over Australia.

Roberts missed the autumn tests while Davies has missed the first four rounds of the Six Nations.

After an impressive showing against Les Bleus, Rhys Webb remains at scrum-half ahead of Mike Phillips, who is on the bench.

There is one positional change in the backline with George North reverting to the wing because of Davies’s return at centre.

Versatile Scarlet Liam Williams drops to the bench as a result.

Fellow Scarlet Jake Ball is also on the bench after impressing on his first Wales start against France after Jones’s late withdrawal.

The back row remains unchanged with captain Sam Warburton featuring alongside Dan Lydiate and Taulupe Faletau.

Wales go to Twickenham at full strength on Sunday but England have injuries.

Stuart Lancaster is yet to name his starting line-up for Sunday but Wales can expect a tough game at Twickenham despite England being without four Lions in Alex Corbisiero, Dan Cole, Geoff Parling and Tom Croft.

Exeter back-row Tom Johnson has been named in England’s match-day in the only change in their 23-man line-up.

Johnson is likely to be on the bench, with Ben Morgan starting at number 8.

England head coach Lancaster would have been reluctant to make too many changes following the impressive 13-10 victory over Ireland.



Wales team to face England:

Leigh Halfpenny (Blues); Alex Cuthbert (Blues), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), George North (Northampton); Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Rhys Webb (Ospreys); Gethin Jenkins (Blues), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Perpignan), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro), Taulupe Faletau (Dragons), Sam Warburton (Blues, capt).



Ken Owens (Scarlets), Paul James (Bath Rugby), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Liam Williams (Scarlets).



England squad to face Wales:


David Attwood (Bath Rugby), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), David Wilson (Bath Rugby), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Danny Care (Harlequins), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath Rugby), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby).



Recent meetings:

2013 – Wales 30-3 England

2012 – England 12-19 Wales

2011 – Wales 19-9 England

2011 – England 23-19 Wales

2011 – Wales 19-26 England

2010 – England 30-17 Wales

2009 – Wales 23-15 England

2008 – England 19-26 Wales

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