Stage set for Twickenham tussle
August 4, 2011
Fly-half Stephen Jones is set to make a record 101st appearance for Wales on Saturday © Getty Images
England and Wales have named their sides for this Saturday's sold-out Rugby World Cup warm-up clash at Twickenham.
Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi is set to make his first Test start in a new-look England midfield alongside returning Wasps playmaker Riki Flutey who gets a start for the first time since the 2010 Six Nations. Saracens lock Mouritz Botha and Gloucester wing Charlie Sharples are both primed to make their Test debuts off the bench while prop Matt Stevens makes his first international appearance for almost three years having recently completed a two-year drugs ban.
London Irish fullback Delon Armitage is another to get a start for the first time since the 2010 Six Nations while Lewis Moody, who missed the Six Nations title campaign with knee ligament damage, returns to captain the team at openside.
Blindside Tom Croft and No.8 James Haskell complete the back-row with Matt Banahan and Mark Cueto starting on the wings while Jonny Wilkinson and Danny Care fill the half-back slots in a strong but experimental England line-up.
Stephen Jones will become Wales' most capped player after being named at fly-half for Saturday's clash. The Scarlets playmaker will make his 101st appearance - and will be partnered by Mike Phillips at half-back - while Rhys Priestland will start at fullback in place of Morgan Stoddart who faced the Barbarians in June. Jamie Roberts also makes his comeback to the national side and will start at inside centre in place of Gavin Henson while Shane Williams replaces Aled Brew on the wing.
Up front prop Craig Mitchell comes in for Ryan Bevington, who moves to the bench, with Paul James switching sides of the scrum. The second-row sees the return of Bradley Davies and Alun Wyn-Jones - who wins his 50th cap - and they will replace Ryan Jones and Luke Charteris who both move to the bench. The young back-row which started against the Barbarians is retained with Sam Warburton, Toby Faletau and Dan Lydiate all featuring from the off. Warburton retains the captaincy following an injury to Matthew Rees.
England: D Armitage (London Irish); M Banahan (Bath Rugby), M Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), R Flutey (London Wasps), M Cueto (Sale Sharks); J Wilkinson (Toulon), D Care (Harlequins); A Corbisiero (London Irish), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), M Stevens (Saracens), S Shaw (Unattached), T Palmer (Stade Francais), T Croft (Leicester Tigers), L Moody (Bath Rugby, capt), J Haskell (Ricoh Black Rams).
Replacements: L Mears (Bath Rugby), D Wilson (Bath Rugby), M Botha (Saracens), T Wood (Northampton Saints), R Wigglesworth (Saracens), C Hodgson (Saracens), C Sharples (Gloucester Rugby).
Wales: Rhys Priestland; George North, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams; Stephen Jones, Michael Phillips; Paul James, Huw Bennett, Craig Mitchell, Bradley Davies, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton (C), Toby Faletau.
Replacements: Lloyd Burns, Ryan Bevington, Luke Charteris, Ryan Jones, Tavis Knoyle, Scott Williams, Morgan Stoddart
Referee: Steve Walsh (NZ)
Assistant referee: George Clancy (Ire), David Changleng (Sco)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Ahead of England's clash with Samoa, Scrum Sevens takes a wander down memory lane and celebrates seven examples of Pacific Islands magic
England must find a way to improve their game by tiny margins and they will get there, writes Phil Vickery
"England remind me of a PlayStation rugby team," John Mitchell on tactics and the search for a first-choice fly-half ahead of the World Cup
Augustine Pulu will return home with little more than 20 minutes rugby in one month on tour. It is time for more midweek games writes Craig Dowd