CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — England was forced to make a late change to its team for the Six Nations match against Wales on Saturday after Courtney Lawes was ruled out by an injury in training.
Lawes was poised to continue at blindside flanker in Cardiff, only to slip and injure himself during practice on Wednesday.
Mark Wilson took Lawes’ place after being dropped for the victory over Italy in Round 2, while Jamie George returned at hooker in place of Luke Cowan-Dickie in the other change. Flanker George Martin was on course to win his first cap after being selected on the bench in place of Jack Willis, who will miss the rest of the season after suffering extensive knee damage against Italy.
Seeking a third straight win to open the championship after beating Ireland and Scotland, Wales overhauled its backline for the match against its big rival and paired George North and Jonathan Davies in a powerful midfield partnership after their returns from injury.
Winger Josh Adams is also back from injury, which has led to Liam Williams shifting to fullback, while Kieran Hardy got the nod over Gareth Davies at scrumhalf. Another player returning from injury was flanker Josh Navidi.
While North wins his 100th cap, England fullback Elliot Daly will get the chance to play his way out of his recent slump in form after being picked for his 50th appearance.
“The best is yet to come from this England team,” said England coach Eddie Jones, whose team started with a first loss to Scotland at Twickenham since 1983 and wasn’t entirely convincing in a 41-18 win over the Azzurri.
Wales: Liam Williams, Louis Rees-Zammit, George North, Jonathan Davies, Josh Adams, Dan Bigger, Kieran Hardy; Taulupe Faletau, Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Adam Beard, Tomas Francis, Ken Owens, Wyn Jones. Reserves: Elliot Dee, Rhodri Jones, Leon Brown, Cory Hill, James Botham, Gareth Davies, Callum Sheedy, Uilisi Halaholo.
England: Elliot Daly, Anthony Watson, Henry Slade, Owen Farrell (captain), Jonny May, George Ford, Ben Youngs; Billy Vunipola, Tom Curry, Mark Wilson, Jonny Hill, Maro Itoje, Kyle Sinckler, Jamie George, Mako Vunipola. Reserves: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, Charlie Ewels, George Martin, Ben Earl, Dan Robson, Max Malins.