Gatland names strong Wales XV for England test

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Wales head coach Warren Gatland has named a strong starting XV for the first pre-World Cup test match against England at Twickenham this Sunday, kick-off 2pm.

The side shows just two changes from that which started against Ireland in the final game of the 2019 Six Nations, which secured a Grand Slam in the rain at the Principality Stadium in Gatland’s last game in charge in the competition.

Both changes are up front as Nicky Smith is in at loosehead, while Aaron Wainwright packs down at blindside flanker, with no changes to the backline that served the team well for much of the Six Nations.

On the bench there is a recall for Aaron Shingler, who could win his first Wales cap since March 2018, and play in his first rugby match at any level since May of the same year, while Wyn Jones and Tomos Williams are both new additions from the Ireland game.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones leads the side from the second row in his 135th test match between Wales and the British and Irish Lions, becoming the country’s most capped rugby player of all time.

Aaron Shingler England
Aaron Shingler returns to action after a lengthy absence

There is a sole Cardiff Blues representation in the starting XV, with Josh Adams named on the wing, with Gareth Anscombe now listed as an Ospreys player. Dillon Lewis joins Tomos on the bench, with Josh Navidi is still proving his fitness, while Hallam Amos and Owen Lane have missed out on selection.

It is thought that Gatland is using the six-day turnaround between both games against England to replicate the six-day turnaround his side will face between their first two World Cup pool matches against Georgia and Australia.

Wales: Liam Williams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Gareth Anscombe, Gareth Davies; Nicky Smith, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones (c), Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty

Replacements: Elliott Dee, Wyn Jones, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Aaron Shingler, Tomos Williams, Dan Biggar, Owen Watkin

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