Following a hard fought win over France in Twickenham last weekend, England’s injury-hit squad face another stern examination against Wales in Cardiff this Saturday.
In all, Eddie Jones is still without both Vunipola brothers, Chris Robshaw, George Kruis and Tom Wood, while James Haskell has not been deemed fit enough to start again this weekend. This places pressure on those coming into the side as expectations remain high.
Indeed, with Taulupe Faletau set to return to the Welsh side, England’s inexperienced back row could face a tough afternoon in the Principality Stadium. Led by the thunderous Louis Picamoles, France troubled Eddie Jones’ men in that department for much of the opening 60 minutes.
Furthermore, Maro Itoje’s move into the back row didn’t prove to be a successful experiment against France, but the situation has determined that the Saracens man be retained in the number six jersey.
This means Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes remain the second-row partnership, with Joe Marler, Dylan Hartley and Dan Cole completing the tight five.
The only change in the backs sees Jack Nowell replace Jonny May on the wing.
BREAKING | Your England team to play Wales in Cardiff on Saturday…
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 9, 2017
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena