England insist Immanuel Feyi-Waboso is ready to face Wales after Steve Borthwick selected an unchanged team for Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash at Twickenham.
Feyi-Waboso made his Test debut as a late replacement in the round one victory over Italy and he continues on the bench for the visit of Warren Gatland’s men.
The 21-year-old wing sensation has pledged allegiance to England despite being born and raised in Cardiff, prompting Wales boss Warren Gatland to remark that his decision had not gone down well across the border.
Borthwick had no hesitation giving Feyi-Waboso, who has been in electric form for Exeter this season, the opportunity to win his second cap.
“Not from my point of view. He came on and did really well against Italy. He has been an incredibly calm, composed and mature character,” Borthwick said.
“He’s trained very well and in the little time I’ve known him he doesn’t seem to get fazed. I only have good things to say about him.”
Jamie George, who leads England out at Twickenham for the first time, also believes the rookie will rise to the occasion if he steps off the bench.
“Manny is a very confident guy. He understands our defensive system because it’s pretty similar to the one at Exeter, which is beneficial. He isn’t fazed by anything,” George said.
Borthwick has retained the same starting XV and bench originally announced for the 27-24 victory in Italy following prop Ellis Genge’s recovery from a foot injury.
Genge was named on the bench for the Stadio Olimpico opener only to be ruled out on the morning of the game, but he has been passed fit for the visit of Warren Gatland’s men.
Ben Obano deputised at loosehead in Genge’s absence and now drops out of the matchday 23 altogether.
The most recent occasion England named an unchanged side was under Eddie Jones for the 2019 World Cup final against South Africa in Japan, which they lost 32-12.
“While last weekend’s performance was far from perfect, it was a promising start,” Borthwick said.
“It was a really promising start for the less experienced guys and the younger guys.
“There’s a blend of leadership and experience. It’s important to keep that blend and build cohesion and continuity.
“The players will get better and better the more they are playing together.”
Five players made their Test debuts against Italy – Ethan Roots, Fraser Dingwall, Chandler Cunningham-South, Fin Smith and Feyi-Waboso – and have the opportunity to press their claim for ongoing selection.
Roots was named man of the match in Rome after a blockbusting display at blindside flanker.