WALES senior men’s head coach Wayne Pivac has named his team to face England at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday 26 February (KO 4.45pm live on ITV and S4C).
Taulupe Faletau, who was recalled to the squad earlier this week following his return from injury, is selected at number 8. He features for the first time since playing against France in last year’s Guinness Six Nations.
Elsewhere in the back row Ross Moriarty switches to blind-side flanker and Taine Basham moves back to open-side flanker after an outing at blind side against Scotland.
Alex Cuthbert will win his 50th cap for Wales this weekend after being selected on the wing. Josh Adams returns from injury to start also at wing, while Liam Williams remains at fullback.
Among the replacements Leon Brown (tight-head prop) is in line to make his first appearance for Wales since last July. Kieran Hardy and Gareth Anscombe, who last featured for Wales in the autumn against Fiji and South Africa respectively, are named as half back cover. Jac Morgan is the other change to the bench from the Wales 23 versus Scotland at Principality Stadium.
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac said: “We’re very pleased to have the experienced Toby Faletau back. He’s trained well during the week and got 80 minutes under his belt last week. From our point of view he brings a lot of experience so we’re very excited to have Toby back.
“I’m also really pleased for Alex Cuthbert to get fifty Tests for his country. It’s a massive achievement. And it’s also great to have Josh Adams back from injury. They are two good players. That means Louis Rees-Zammit is the unfortunate one this week that misses out. But we’ve looked at the opposition we’re playing and niggly injuries that players pick up from time to time and we think that in this particular match, the way the game will go, that Alex and Josh are the right selection.
“Clearly everyone loves playing at home and it’s a first home game of the Guinness Six Nations for England. They will be tough opposition, they always are and both teams are still in this competition so there’s a lot at stake.
“It’s a big game. We had a great result against them last year but we’re going to have to play very, very well to get the same result this year.
“We played well against Scotland, but we’ve challenged the boys to make sure that we have that same effort away from home this week.”
Wales senior men’s team to face England (Saturday 26 February, KO 4.45pm. Live on ITV and S4C)
15. Liam Williams (Scarlets – 76 caps)
14. Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys – 49 caps)
13. Owen Watkin (Ospreys – 28 caps)
12. Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 18 caps)
11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 36 caps)
10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints – 97 caps), captain
9. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 31 caps)
1. Wyn Jones (Scarlets – 40 caps)
2. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 25 caps)
3. Tomas Francis (Ospreys – 62 caps)
4. Will Rowlands (Dragons – 15 caps)
5. Adam Beard (Ospreys – 31 caps), vice-captain
6. Ross Moriarty (Dragons – 51 caps)
7. Taine Basham (Dragons – 9 caps)
8. Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby – 86 caps)
16. Dewi Lake (Ospreys – 2 cap)
17. Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 7 caps)
18. Leon Brown (Dragons – 20 caps)
19. Seb Davies (Cardiff Rugby – 14 caps)
20. Jac Morgan (Ospreys – 1 cap)
21. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 8 caps)
22. Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys – 29 c