After an exhilarating and amazing performance versus Scotland, Wales now look ahead to England.

Welsh captain Alun Wyn Jones said before the tournament that Wales would change their game to cater the threat of each individual opponent. Will the back three change from the inexperienced wingers and Halfpenny who the media called to be dropped prior to his 24 point haul, due to his lack of attacking threat.

The back three against Scotland fit, to a certain extent with the Welsh DNA. So should they change?

Leigh Halfpenny

The sublime performance in the back three has been noted by many. Leigh Halfpenny a conservative and defensive fullback picked up 2 tries, his first since 2013 in the Welsh jersey. These tries ended his 1,827-day streak without a try for Wales.

Halfpenny was in fine form, as per usual against Scotland.
Courtesy of Opta

Steff Evans

On the one wing Steff Evans, who was found out in the autumn, looked a genuine threat. The Scarlets man looked dangerous in attack and less frail in defence than he did versus Australia. Bagging himself a try many doubt how the young flyer could be dropped by Gatland.

Josh Adams

Finally on the other wing stood the top try scorer in the Aviva Premiership, Josh Adams. Although he didn’t score he never looked out of place in the fast-paced, expansive and exciting way Wales played.

The Returning

With a tough England side to come many wonder how the young wingers will fare. Before the game, many were worried due to the absence of Liam Williams and George North. Both of these will take a full part in training this week and it’s an idea that they should start versus the Red Rose.

Liam Williams

With an amazing turn of pace and superb footwork, the ex-Scarlets man was expected to be sorely missed by the Welsh. As the starting Lions fullback, he has known form at international and high levels, unlike the wingers who faced Scotland. Playing at Saracens now he has an in-depth knowledge of how lots of the English team play. This also means he plays against many of the other Englishmen often and knows how to stop the threat they possess. Also, as an ex-Scarlet, he knows how to play with lots of the backline and will fit in very well and add an extra threat to the gameplan. Wales/Scarlets gameplan.

It’s hard to ignore Liam Williams when he is fit. He was almost super human on the Lions tour.
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

George North

A big ball carrier and a surprising amount of pace for his size. The 6ft 4 ½ tall man, can make sizable holes in a defence and his speed means he can carry this on to the try line. Yet North has barely played this season due to injury. So has little form and game time at the moment, unlike those he would replace. He did score on his return in the Anglo-Welsh versus Harlequins and played the full 80. If he is fit and firing many will want him to start as his explosive running could be what Wales need in what will be a very tough match.

Hallam Amos

The Dragons man had an excellent autumn where he proved he was a top international winger. Given the fact he was fit for the match versus Scotland people where surprised he wasn’t selected. However, Amos has played very little rugby after suffering an ankle injury on boxing day. If he proves himself in training this week Gatland may choose Amos. Yet it is likely that Gatland would prefer to reward his current wingers or go for the more experienced North or Williams.

Overall

I expect Gatland will want to reward Adams and Evans. However, the way Wales want to tailor their gameplan to each team I believe Gatland will pick Williams to start alongside either North or Evans. The decision between those two will come down to training. As well as how Gatland and his coaching staff want to stop the dazzling stars on the wing for Eddie Jones’ side.

Author: Ollie Evans

I’m from South Wales and have grown up with rugby all around me and the Millenium Stadium on my doorstep. A massive fan of all things rugby, but never been particularly good despite having played since I was 6.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Nice article Ollie. As an Englishman I hope he picks North, Adams and Williams. North has been a long time out of form and is coming back from injury. He is a confidence player and his confidence will be low after what he has been through. I don’t think if selected he would be anywhere near his best. Adams is really good but the England game will be much tougher than anything he’s ever faced, whereas Evans has played against SH teams and done well. Williams is class, but has the odd mistake in him and is coming back from injury. It would also leave Wales with a weaker goalkicker.

    My predicted Wales back 3 though is Williams 14, Evans 11 and Halfpenny 15.

    Have you noticed though that all the wing options prefer the left?

  2. Good article mate

    Totally agree I think Gatland will stick with the XV that started against Scotland as he has a history of rewarding players, hence the reason for Josh Navidi keeping his place.

    I think George North will come in on the bench. It’s tough on Owen Watkin who has been playing really well and I definitely think will be the Wales first choice 12 in the next world cup cycle but I think this Six Nations is not quite his time.

    Imagine telling someone a month ago the North, Williams and Amos wouldn’t be able to get in to the Welsh team… madness!

  3. Williams – Halfpenny – Evans.

    North off the bench to play centre or wing. North’s style of play would be devastating at a tiring defence.

  4. Excellent article.If there is any change I suspect Liam to play 14.
    Cannot justify any other changes unless injuries crop up.

  5. same as last week Halfpenny ,,,evans adam ,,,on the bench liam for 15 or wing and north for wing ,,,

    tips bench Navdi at 7 …with moritary 8 on the bench as navdi will drop to 8 when Ross benched

    the injury’s to wales are really a blessing in disguise as forces a chance to let the up and coming get in ,,,,come on wales ,,,,,,,roar !!!!!!!!!!!!! i do think its going to be a game this weekend and its going to be closer than most will think ,,,this could possibly be the upset of the 6 nations ,, even if Wales loose and get within the losing bonus point ,,,this could upset a lot of people not just the scots

    id leave the team as they are with the subs as above ,,,

    Good luck Wales , upset them as you did in twickers in 2015 when they said Wales had nope hope ,,,a much stronger team now id say ,,,,nothing to loose guys everything to gain Good luck

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