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Alternative Wales side to face England at Twickenham

Wales is set to take on England at Twickenham this Saturday with an entirely restructured starting XV. 

Head coach Warren Gatland’s strategic shakeup follows their recent triumph over England with a resounding 20-9 victory at the Principality Stadium only days ago.

Dewi Lake, a rising star, will embrace a leadership role as he dons the captain’s armband for the first time in the upcoming showdown. Gatland’s lineup overhaul introduces fresh faces, with Scarlets’ center Joe Roberts primed for his Wales debut. Meanwhile, Scarlets’ loosehead prop Kemsley Mathias and Ospreys’ center Keiran Williams, though placed on the bench, have a chance to display their potential.

Notably, Taine Plumtree, who made an impact in the previous encounter, earns his spot as the starting No. 8 following an impressive bench performance. Gatland’s strategic acumen extends beyond team selection; he once again reveals his matchday 23 ahead of schedule, mirroring his tactics from the previous week.

While Wales basks in the glow of their recent victory, Gatland is acutely aware of the mounting challenge posed by the English team on their home turf. England’s head coach, Steve Borthwick, responds with a seasoned starting XV this time, signaling his determination to regain victory after the recent setback.

Borthwick’s forward-looking approach is emphasized by his early unveiling of the official 33-man squad for the upcoming World Cup in France next month. In contrast, Gatland views this impending Test match as a golden opportunity to refine his selections for the tournament. The stakes are high, with a crucial warm-up match against South Africa scheduled for August 19, after which Gatland will finalize his official squad.

Gatland’s shakeup features Dewi Lake leading the revamped Wales side against England at Twickenham, with Joe Roberts making his debut as center on Saturday. This move follows a whopping 15 changes to the team that secured a 20-9 victory in Cardiff over England.

Lake takes over the captaincy from Jac Morgan, and Taine Plumtree is rewarded with his first start at number eight, having impressed as a replacement in the previous match. The back row, also comprising Dan Lydiate and Tommy Reffell, will rely on Plumtree’s prowess.

Prop Kemsley Mathias and center Keiran Williams are poised for their international debuts from the bench in the World Cup warm-up game. Meanwhile, Ospreys’ fly-half Owen Williams gets his chance after missing out on the World Cup warm-up camps, partnering with Tomos Williams at half-back.

Gatland’s strategy to rotate captains sees Dewi Lake, an influential figure within the squad, taking the helm. Gatland praises Lake’s qualities, stating, “He’s well-respected in the group, he’s got a voice and he has confidence about himself and his own ability.” This shift also aligns with Gatland’s broader vision, considering the team’s future prospects beyond the immediate matches.

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Joe Roberts, 23, pairs up with Nick Tompkins at center, while Scarlets’ wing Rogers will make his third international start. The front-five includes Ospreys quartet Lake, Gareth Thomas, Rhys Davies, and Adam Beard, with prop Tomas Francis completing the unit.

Gatland acknowledges the opportunity for the new lineup to make its mark and underscores the competition within the squad. He expresses satisfaction with the team’s prior performance and result while highlighting the pressure on this group to deliver. This match against England sets the stage for subsequent challenges, including a fixture against South Africa.

The upcoming match holds personal significance for Josh Adams, who secures his 50th Wales cap. Gatland commends Adams for his dedication and resilience, overcoming obstacles to reach this milestone. The broader squad, including Teddy Williams, Cai Evans, Gareth Anscombe, Alex Cuthbert, Taulupe Faletau, and Johnny Williams, will not participate in the initial warm-up matches.

Wales faces world champions South Africa in their final warm-up game on August 19, leading to Gatland’s subsequent announcement of the 33-man World Cup squad. The journey begins on September 10 with a World Cup campaign opener against Fiji in Bordeaux, followed by clashes with Portugal, Australia, and Georgia.

Fullback: Liam Williams

Wingers: Josh Adams, 

Tom Rogers

Centers: Joe Roberts, Nick Tompkins

Fly-half: Owen Williams

Scrum-half: Tomos Williams

Front row: Gareth Thomas, Dewi Lake (capt), Tomas Francis

Second row: Rhys Davies, Adam Beard

Flankers: Dan Lydiate, 

Tommy Reffell

No. 8: Taine Plumtree


Sam Parry

Kemsley Mathias

Dillon Lewis

Christ Tshiunza

Taine Basham

Kieran Hardy

Dan Biggar

Keiran Williams