Rugby - Nowell and Moon start against Wales

Rugby - Nowell and Moon start against Wales

Winger Jack Nowell and prop Ben Moon were included in England's starting team to face Wales in Saturday's potentially decisive Six Nations clash in Cardiff, with Joe Cokanasiga and Brad Shields on the bench for the first time in the championship.

Six Nations Championship - England Press Conference
Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - England Press Conference - Pennyhill Park Hotel, Bagshot, Britain - February 21, 2019 England head coach Eddie Jones and Owen Farrell during the press conference Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

BAGSHOT, England: Winger Jack Nowell and prop Ben Moon were included in England's starting team to face Wales in Saturday's potentially decisive Six Nations clash in Cardiff, with Joe Cokanasiga and Brad Shields on the bench for the first time in the championship.

Nowell was dropped to the bench against France, but with Chris Ashton out with a calf strain, returns to start in the same back three as in the opening win in Dublin, with Jonny May on the left and Elliot Daly at fullback.

Moon, who has impressed Jones since making his debut in November, is in for Mako Vunipola, who has been ruled out for the rest of the tournament. Ellis Genge will provide a fiery option from the bench.

"Jack Nowell will start and Joe Cokanasiga will come onto the bench. As we saw in the autumn, Joe is a player of great potential so we're looking forward to him adding to the squad," head coach Eddie Jones said.

"Brad Shields comes in for Nathan Hughes as a finisher as we just feel like it is going to be a high work-rate game."

With both teams having won their first two games, the Cardiff match (1645 GMT) already looks key to the title, particularly if England win it with home games against Italy and Scotland to come.

England have won their last five Six Nations games against the Welsh, but memories of their 2015 World Cup defeat at Twickenham and 30-3 humbling in Cardiff in 2013 when they were seeking a grand slam will keep their feet very much on the ground.

"Whenever you play against a Warren Gatland side you are playing against a side that is going to be very physical on the gain line," Jones added.

"They are always very fit so you have to make sure you win the gain line and then find opportunities of where you are going to attack them."

A home win would take Wales to a national record 12 successive victories, but with a final-day match against Ireland to come, there is still much to do.

England team to play Wales:

15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 27 caps)

14 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 31 caps)

13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 19 caps)

12 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 29 caps)

11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 42 caps)

10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 67 caps) (captain)

9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 82 caps) 

1 Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs, 5 caps)

2 Jamie George (Saracens, 34 caps)

3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 19 caps)

4 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 70 caps)

5 George Kruis (Saracens, 29 caps)

6 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 10 caps)

7 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 7 caps)

8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 38 caps)

Replacements (147 caps)

16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 9 caps)

17 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 6 caps)

18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 16 caps)

19 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 55 caps)

20 Brad Shields (Wasps, 5 caps)

21 Dan Robson (Wasps, 1 cap)

22 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 53 caps)

23 Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 2 caps)

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Simon Jennings)

Source: Reuters

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