England host Wales at Twickenham on Saturday 25 February 2012. Kick-off is at 16:00 and the game will be televised live on BBC One.
Expectations on Wales are massive for this game and England will be considered by many fans to have done well if they run them close. We feel that with the changes Lancaster has made England stand a better chance of surprising everyone with a win.
In are centre Manu Tuilagi, but not at the expense of Brad Barrett as Charlie Hodgson has a cut finger allowing Owen Farrell to move to 10. Chris Ashton has retained his place even though his form has dipped and we feel he is lucky to keep out Charlie Sharples. Lee Dickson gets a start and swaps with Ben Youngs who moves to the bench. In the forwards Tom Palmer is out of the squad as Geoff Parling gets the nod and Courtney Lawes comes in on the bench. The other movers are Ben Morgan starts at 8 and Phil Dowson moves to the bench. With Charlie Hodgson out Toby Flood comes onto the bench.
Regarding the choice of 10 Lancaster said: “Owen has trained throughout and knows our patterns and plays so we are fully confident in his ability to run the game from 10, we are looking forward to seeing how Brad and Manu gel together in the centre. Charlie cut his finger in training earlier in the week and needed stitches but it swelled up and there is a sprain there. We assessed him this morning and he cannot grip fully.”
Wales have a couple of changes as players return to fitness, with the biggest bonus being the return of captain Sam Warburton. The other man in is Alun Wyn Jones. A late change sees James Hook out with chicken pox and replaced on the bench by Stephen Jones
England: Ben Foden (Northampton Saints), Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints), Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Brad Barritt (Saracens), David Strettle (Saracens), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints). Alex Corbisiero (London Irish), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Mouritz Botha (Saracens), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), Ben Morgan (Scarlets)
Replacements: Rob Webber (London Wasps), Matt Stevens (Saracens), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers), Mike Brown (Harlequins)
WALES: Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, George North; Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins, Ken Owens, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Ian Evans, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton (capt), Toby Faletau.
Replacements: Richard Hibbard, Paul James, Ryan Jones, Justin Tipuric, Lloyd Williams, Stephen Jones, Scott Williams.