Rugby

England name unchanged team for first time in four years for clash with Wales

Steve Borthwick has retained the same starting XV and bench originally announced for the 27-24 victory over Italy in round one.

Steve Borthwick has stuck with the same England side
Steve Borthwick has stuck with the same England side Steve Borthwick has stuck with the same England side (Adam Davy/PA)

England have named an unchanged team for the first time in four years for Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with Wales at Twickenham.

Head coach Steve Borthwick has retained the same starting XV and bench originally announced for the 27-24 victory over Italy in round one following prop Ellis Genge’s recovery from a foot injury.

Genge, who had been named on the bench, was ruled out of the Stadio Olimpico opener on the morning of the game but has been passed fit for the visit of Warren Gatland’s men.

Beno 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.

Jamie George will lead the team out at Twickenham for the first time since being named as Owen Farrell’s successor as captain.

Five players made their Test debuts against Italy – Ethan Roots, Fraser Dingwall, Chandler Cunningham-South, Fin Smith and Immanuel 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 while for the first time Feyi-Waboso will be facing the nation of his birth, who he declined to represent in favour of England.

“It was both pleasing and important to have started our Six Nations campaign in Rome with a victory,” Borthwick said.

“However, we know there are areas of our game to improve as we prepare for this Saturday’s game against a spirited Wales team.

“With a new player group and a number of new caps, we have tried to develop our game on both sides of the ball.

“Such changes take time and I was pleased how quickly the players settled and adapted last weekend against Italy.

“We’re delighted to be back playing in front of a sold-out Twickenham Stadium this Saturday. The visit of the Wales team is always a fixture that creates a special atmosphere.

“I have no doubt that this group of players are relishing the challenge before them and are looking forward to creating a very special experience for our supporters.”