England opt for inexperience to face Wales

England head coach Eddie Jones paid tribute to his side's "grit" after their dramatic victory over Wales in Cardiff's Principality Stadium.

Jones limited his changes to restoring Jack Nowell on the right wing and starting Jack Clifford on the openside flank.

The match also means England have won their opening two matches of the 2017 RBS 6 Nations, having beaten France last weekend. Maro Itoje, Jack Clifford and Nathan Hughes shared just 20 caps compared to their opposites' 130.

Wales botched the attacking lineout and scrum, gave away a penalty at the other end, and Farrell's third penalty kick cut the Welsh lead to two. "I'm sure that this is the right group to move towards the future but in order to change mentality and improve we need to play, go through hard moments and positive moments, earn experience", O'Shea, a former Ireland fullback, told the Italian rugby federation website (www.federugby.it) yesterday. They scraped through with a win at Twickenham but were ponderously uncertain.

Wales showed two changes from the side that saw off Italy in Rome last weekend, with wing Alex Cuthbert replacing leg injury victim George North, while props Rob Evans and York-born Exeter tighthead Tomas Francis also started as the home team targeted a fifth successive victory under Howley.

"I loved the atmosphere, it was a proper Test match", he said.

Wales opened the scoring through Leigh Halfpenny but England levelled soon after. Injuries mean England are now missing first-choice No 8 Billy Vunipola and blindside flanker Chris Robshaw, with former England captain Robshaw - who plays alongside Clifford at London club Harlequins - set to miss the whole of the Six Nations with a shoulder injury. "Every game for us is important and our supporters, and Wales is our next game so it's the most important".

"You have to applaud them for that". We know we need to play the full 80 minutes, we've talked about this before, but we didn't.

England were thankful that - as the Welsh fly-half then kicked on - the swifter Daly was able to recover and desperately slide the ball into touch but on their own 22, a stark concession.

Forwards coach Robin McBryde eased the tension on the eve of Wales' Six Nations clash with England with a gag that brought roars of laughter from journalists. I was slightly critical of him not getting the touchdown when perhaps he might against France was last week but he took that like a veteran.

"We have prepared for any shenanigans that might go on. The staff shared a very interactive hour with them at a lunchtime meeting where we learnt a lot". "We are prepared for any shenanigans that might go on and we are looking forward to it." said the straight-talking Australian, who has not decided whether the roof should be closed in Cardiff.

  • Angelo Rivera