England travel to Cardiff to take on Wales this afternoon in one of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures in the Six Nations calendar.
Eddie Jones’ side have made a somewhat sluggish start to the defence of their first Six Nations title since 2017, with a first home Calcutta Cup defeat by Scotland since 1983 followed by a fairly routine win over perennial strugglers Italy at Twickenham.
England now face a massive test after the first rest weekend, with Wales gunning to complete a Triple Crown and keep their bid for a second Grand Slam in three years alive while dealing a crushing blow to their fierce rivals in the process.
It has been an enthralling opening to this year’s Six Nations by the hosts, who endured a torrid 2020.
Despite a number of injuries, Wayne Pivac’s men have beaten Ireland 21-16 and Scotland 25-24, though on both occasions they were helped by red cards, with Peter O’Mahony and Zander Fagerson each receiving their marching orders.
Wales vs England date, time and venue
Wales vs England is scheduled for a 4:45pm GMT kick-off today, February 27, 2021.
The match will be played behind closed doors at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff due to government restrictions relating to coronavirus.
How to watch Wales vs England
TV channel: Wales vs England is being broadcast live on BBC One today, with coverage beginning at 4pm.
Live stream: Fans can also tune into the match online via the BBC Sport website or BBC iPlayer.
Wales vs England team news
George North will win his 100th cap for Wales as part of a vastly experienced partnership in the centres alongside the fit-again Jonathan Davies.
Liam Williams shifts to full-back with Leigh Halfpenny missing out, while Scarlets scrum-half Kieran Hardy makes just his third senior international appearance in place of the injured Tomos Williams.
In the pack, Josh Navidi is fit to feature at blindside flanker, so Aaron Wainwright makes way.
England have made two changes to the side that beat Italy 41-18, with Jamie George returning at hooker and Luke Cowan-Dickie back on the bench.
Courtney Lawes is out for the rest of the Six Nations with a pectoral injury sustained after slipping in training on Wednesday, so Mark Wilson packs down on the blindside once more.
The only other alteration to Jones’ squad comes on the bench, where uncapped teenage Leicester back-row George Martin replaces Jack Willis, who is likely to miss the rest of the season with a serious knee injury suffered after scoring on his Six Nations debut against the Azzurri.
Wales vs England lineups
Wales XV: L Williams; Rees-Zammit, North, J Davies, Adams; Biggar, Hardy; W Jones, Owens, Francis; Beard, AW Jones (c); Navidi, Tipuric, Faletau
Replacements: Dee, R Jones, Brown, Hill, Botham, G Davies, Sheedy, Halaholo
England XV: Daly; Watson, Slade, Farrell, May; Ford, Youngs; M Vunipola, George, Sinckler; Itoje, Hill; Wilson, Curry, B Vunipola
Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Genge, Stuart, Ewels, Martin, Earl, Robson, Malins
Wales vs England head to head (h2h) history and results
These old foes have met on 136 previous occasions, with England boasting 65 wins to Wales’ 59. There have been 12 draws.
England won both meetings last year at the Six Nations and Autumn Nations Cup, while they split a pair of World Cup warm-up clashes in 2019 after Jones’ side came unstuck in a 21-13 defeat in Cardiff earlier that season.
That match was a record 12th successive Test triumph for Wales under Warren Gatland.
Wales vs England prediction
Wales have done very well indeed to bounce back from a rotten spell with injuries to record consecutive victories and a Triple Crown is certainly achievable this weekend, especially with the likes of Adams and Davies back in the fold and young Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit in exciting form.
However, it has to be said that they were not especially convincing in either match against 14 men.
Laboured England have flattered to deceive thus far and will need to be much improved to come away from Cardiff with a positive result.
It should be a great spectacle despite the lack of atmosphere at one of Europe’s best sporting venues caused by an absence of fans.
A narrow victory either way wouldn’t be a surprise, but we’ll go for England just edging a typically fierce and monstrously physical battle.
Wales vs England betting odds and tips
Wales to win: 11/5
England to win: 1/2
Odds via Betfair Exchange (subject to change). Click here to find out more.
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