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LionsWatch: Faletau and front-row changes for Wales

LionsWatch: Faletau and front-row changes for Wales

British & Irish Lion Taulupe Faletau returns to the bench for Wales while Rob Evans and Tomas Francis are back in the front row for their clash with England on Saturday.

"We are looking to build on that performance in Rome this weekend."

British & Irish Lion Taulupe Faletau returns to the bench for Wales while Rob Evans and Tomas Francis are back in the front row for their clash with England on Saturday.

Wales kicked off their 2017 RBS 6 Nations with victory over Italy in Rome and this weekend welcome the Grand Slam champions England to Cardiff.

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British & Irish Lions Head Coach Warren Gatland will be in attendance on Saturday evening for the clash with positions on Tour to New Zealand later this year very much up for grabs.

The return of Faletau from injury is well-timed therefore; the No 8 will be hoping to break into a back row that consists of two more Lions in Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric and the ever-improving Ross Moriarty.

But it is in the front row, where Francis and Evans replace Samson Lee and Nicky Smith respectively, where Howley believes his side must prepare.

“There is huge excitement in the camp ahead of Saturday for what is set to be a massive RBS 6 Nations encounter,” he said.

“We were really pleased with the result out in Rome and are looking to build on that performance this weekend.

“Both Rob (Evans) and Tomas (Francis) made a big impact off the bench last weekend and deserve their opportunity to start.

“We have had a short turnaround but Dan and George have worked hard with the medics and we are pleased to be able to name them.”
 

WALES TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Wales make two changes for match against @EnglandRugby on Saturday. Rob Evans and Tomas Francis both start pic.twitter.com/aDh600cK7K

— Welsh Rugby Union ? (@WelshRugbyUnion) February 9, 2017


Elsewhere, in the backline Dan Biggar and George North have both shaken off knocks sustained in Rome to keep their place in the starting XV.

North joins fellow Lion Leigh Halpenny and Liam Williams in the back three while the centres are Jonathan Davies and Scott Williams. Biggar joins Rhys Webb again in the half-backs.

Francis and Evans back down alongside Ken Owens at hooker while skipper Alun Wyn Jones is reunited with Jake Ball in the second row.

On the bench Faletau is joined by Jamie Roberts – who won his 87th cap as a replacement in Rome – as well as the impressive Sam Davies.
 
WALES TEAM TO PLAY ENGLAND:
15. Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon) (67 Caps)
14. George North (Northampton Saints) (66 Caps)
13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (60 Caps)
12. Scott Williams (Scarlets) (42 Caps)
11. Liam Williams (Scarlets) (39 Caps)
10. Dan Biggar (Ospreys) (52 Caps)
9. Rhys Webb (Ospreys) (24 Caps)

1. Rob Evans (Scarlets) (13 Caps)
2. Ken Owens (Scarlets) (46 Caps)
3. Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (18 Caps)
4. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (22 Caps)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (106 Caps) (CAPTAIN)
6. Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues) (70 Caps)
7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (47 Caps)
8. Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby) (13 Caps)
 
Replacements:
16. Scott Baldwin (Ospreys) (29 Caps)
17. Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (8 Caps)
18. Samson Lee (Scarlets) (30 Caps)
19. Cory Hill (Newport Gwent Dragons) (4 Caps)
20. Taulupe Faletau (Bath) (62 Caps)
21. Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (22 Caps)
22. Sam Davies (Ospreys) (4 Caps)
23. Jamie Roberts (Harlequins) (87 Caps)
 
 

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