Jeremy Guscott has voiced concerns over the size difference between England and Wales’ centre pairings for their upcoming Six Nations encounter.
England will start with Owen Farrell and Henry Slade at 12 and 13 and will line up against the considerable size of Jonathan Davies and George North at the Principality Stadium.
Guscott was speaking on [the older] Jonathan Davies’ BBC podcast, and admitted that he is concerned about England’s defence due to the size of their centres.
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“When you think about the size of the English midfield of Ford, Farrell and Slade, it’s very lightweight. So these Welsh guys could have a field day,” Guscott said.
“There is a real size difference. I wouldn’t want to defend against George [North], while Wayne Pivac will be hoping Jonathan Davies has the class and ability to come straight into the game at 12.”
Wales’ ability to win without the ball
Wales have claimed narrow victories against Ireland and Scotland so far in this year’s championship, with both of their opponents having played with 14 men.
Despite the Welsh being aided by red cards, Guscott has been impressed by their ability to win games with far less possession than their opposition.
“Wales have been incredibly efficient. They are playing smart rugby at the moment. If you remember Wayne Pivac at the Scarlets, their game was very open and ambitious. It was attacking.
“This is totally different. Wales are surviving – even when playing against 14 guys – with something like 30-40 per cent territory and possession. It’s unheard of.
“If you look at their two best tries, Liam Williams’ one against Scotland was off a set move. That was a training ground set-piece play. It was delivered to perfection.
“Then you had Louis Rees-Zammit’s second in that same game, where he went round the edge, kicked over Hogg and caught the ball.
“That was tremendous skill, a brilliant individual effort. To execute that kick running at that pace with such touch was absolutely beautiful,” Guscott commented.
‘We’re probably going to see a kicking fest’
While Wales have shown some impressive attacking flair so far in this year’s championship, the former England and British and Irish Lions centre is expecting a dour affair on Saturday.
“You would want to see more of that kind of thing [Rees-Zammit’s try], but we are probably going to see a kicking fest in between the 22s trying to establish some possession.
“The experience in that Welsh side should be enough to get them in the right places and do the right thing at the right time,” Guscott said.
Should Wales beat their old rivals in Cardiff on Saturday, they will be just two victories away from an unlikely Grand Slam.