Wales v England: Eddie Jones calls for side to be ‘absolutely brutal’

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Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones got the ball in hand at an event to announce England’s Rugby World Cup squad on Monday
World Cup warm-up: Wales v England
Venue:Principality Stadium, CardiffDate:Saturday, 17 AugustKick-off:14:15 BST
Coverage:Live on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, plus live text commentary

Coach Eddie Jones has told England they need to be ‘absolutely brutal’ if they want to make it back-to-back Rugby World Cup warm-up wins over Wales.

The two teams meet in Cardiff on Saturday, six days after England ran out 33-19 winners at Twickenham.

“We just need to be absolutely brutal around the tackle and the contest on the ground,” said Jones, whose side open up against Tonga on 22 September.

“If we’re good in that area, we’re in a good position to win the game.”

Wales inflicted a 21-13 defeat on Jones’ side in February on their way to a Grand Slam and the Australian is wary of the atmosphere that the hosts’ matches against their oldest international rivals can generate.

“We know that Wales are going to bring all that emotion and pride,” he added.

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Watch: All the tries as England beat Wales convincingly

“We’re playing against a certain opposition that play a certain way so we want to be able to handle their tactics and be able to adapt and find a way to win.”

Flanker Lewis Ludlam has retained his place in England’s back row after making his debut in last weekend’s win, while wing Ruaridh McConnochie will win his first cap, provided he comes through a late fitness test.

  • McConnochie in doubt for Wales debut
  • How to follow the World Cup warm-ups on BBC Sport

“The young players having done so well last week has really lifted everyone,” added Jones.

“From a selection point of view, [we need] players being able to back up and perform game on game.”

The match will be the last time the teams meet before potentially being reunited in either the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals or final.

Gatland promises improvement from Wales

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Gatland expects Wales improvement in Cardiff

Wales coach Warren Gatland has made only three changes from the team beaten at Twickenham last weekend but warned his players that a repeat of that sub-par performance could cost them a starting spot in Japan.

The visitors were 14 points down in as many minutes at Twickenham as they leaked early tries from Billy Vunipola and Joe Cokanasiga.

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“It’s easy enough to make a lot of changes, but some of the players would have been disappointed with last weekend, and particularly that first 20 minutes,” Gatland said.

“There is a lot of pressure on those guys on the weekend, because if some of them don’t front and don’t perform, they are opening the door for someone else.

“We will be a lot better. We were pretty relaxed on Sunday. We play our best when we are on edge mentally.”

Josh Adams, Liam Williams and Jonathan Davies, all of whom started Wales 21-13 win in February, are in the Wales line-up

The most significant change to Wales starting XV is the return of Dan Biggar at fly-half after first-choice 10 Gareth Anscombe was ruled out of the Rugby World Cup with knee ligament damage.

Biggar will win his 72nd cap but will be starting only his second international match of 2019 as Gatland attempts to rework his gameplan a little over five weeks before their World Cup opener against Georgia.

  • ‘Wales won’t win the World Cup with Biggar’

Elsewhere flanker James Davies comes in to join brother and Scarlets team-mate Jonathan Davies in the side. They are the first brothers to play alongside each other for Wales since Jamie and Nicky Robinson in 2006.

Four-way fight for top spot

After missing out on the chance to take top spot in the world rankings last weekend, Wales will climb to the summit of the international game for the first time if they beat England on Saturday.

However if England manage to win by 15 points or more, something they last did in Cardiff in 2003, they would become the world’s number one team.

Reigning world champions New Zealand will only maintain their near decade-long hold of top spot if they win their Bledisloe Cup decider against Australia earlier in the day and England win by less than 15 points or draw with Wales.

The All Blacks could fall as low as sixth in the rankings if results go against them.

Ireland, who are not in action this weekend, are the fourth team who could top the world rankings on Monday. However Joe Schmidt’s side would need New Zealand to fail to beat Australia and England and Wales to draw in Cardiff.

  • World Rugby’s full breakdown of this weekend’s ranking ramifications

Wales:L Williams; North, Jonathan Davies, Parkes, Adams; Biggar, G Davies; Smith, Owens, Francis, Ball, AW Jones, Wainwright, James Davies, Moriarty.

Replacements:Dee, W Jones, Lewis, Shingler, Navidi, A Davies, Evans, Watkin.

England:Daly; McConnochie, Joseph, Francis, Cokanasiga; Ford, Heinz; Genge, Cowan-Dickie, Cole, Launchbury, Itoje, Lawes, Ludlam, B Vunipola.

Replacements:George, Marler, Sinckler, Kruis, Singleton, Youngs, Farrell, Tuilagi

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