Wales v England: Teams
At the Millennium Stadium, Friday February 4, kick-off 7.45pm
Last Updated: 04/02/11 9:39pm
Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards is expecting a physical battle when they kick-off the RBS Six Nations against England on Friday night.
Edwards believes the strong Leicester and Northampton presence within the England side gives a clear indication of how the visitors will play at the Millennium Stadium.
And although England have the attacking talents of Mark Cueto, Chris Ashton and Ben Foden in the back three, Edwards is expecting the breakdown to be the key area.
"They have a fantastic back three with a real understanding," he said. "But we have worked hard on our kick chase and we have done a lot of contact work and we are battle hardened.
"We want to be disciplined and combative at the breakdown, with and without the ball, and have good technique.
"It is an east Midlands-orientated England team and I know from speaking to Sir Ian McGeechan about when he was at Northampton that in the East Midlands they pride themselves on their physicality in that area, so we know it will be a tough contest at the breakdown."
Wales go into the game with Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones missing from their pack, while Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Tom Shanklin, Andrew Bishop and Richie Rees are absent from the backline.
Paul James and Craig Mitchell come into the front row, alongside skipper Matthew Rees, while Sam Warburton, Dan Lydiate and Andy Powell team up in the back row.
Head coach Warren Gatland has tweaked his backline with James Hook moved to full-back, as Stephen Jones and Jonathan Davies are preferred at fly-half and inside centre respectively.
Morgan Stoddart will make his first international appearance in two-and-a-half years after being named on the wing, while Jamie Roberts starts at 13.
England captain Mike Tindall believes his side need to get off to a fast start at the Millennium Stadium.
Tindall, the sole survivor in the side from England's starting XV from the 2003 World Cup final, has been handed the captaincy in the absence of the injured Lewis Moody.
And the 66-cap veteran knows exactly how tough it could be for his side if they allow Wales to dominate early on.
"Wales have enough individuals to cause you problems. If we turn up there and play our game we believe we can win. That is the challenge for us," said Tindall.
"Wales always have the ability to pull out massive performances when things go right for them. We have to expect that to happen.
"The first 20 minutes we have to get out there and put a stop on it before it gets going. We have to start well. If we can impose our game we will be in a strong place to control the game."
Manager Martin Johnson has been forced to tinker with his pack for the clash, with Moody, Tom Croft and Courtney Lawes all ruled out through injury.
As a result Tom Wood is handed his international debut after an impressive run of form at Northampton, while James Haskell and Louis Deacon also come into the pack.
There is a wealth of experience on the bench, with Steve Thompson, Simon Shaw, Joe Worsley and Jonny Wilkinson ready to enter the fray.
Wales: 15 James Hook, 14 Morgan Stoddart, 13 Jamie Roberts, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Andy Powell, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies,3 Craig Mitchell,2 Matthew Rees (c), 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 John Yapp, 18 Ryan Jones, 19 Jonathan Thomas, 20 Dwayne Peel, 21 Rhys Priestland, 22 Lee Byrne.
England: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Mike Tindall (c), 12 Shontayne Hape, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nick Easter, 7 James Haskell, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Replacements: 16 Steve Thompson, 17 David Wilson, 18 Simon Shaw, 19 Joe Worsley, 20 Danny Care, 21 Jonny Wilkinson, 22 Matt Banahan.