England will welcome Wales to Twickenham on Saturday for the second round of the 2024 Six Nations, as both sides look to kick their campaign into gear after a shaky first outing.
England barely survived a meeting with Italy at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome last weekend with the home side scoring in the dying minutes to secure a losing bonus point. The three-point victory for England signalled a dangerously close call for a side that has never lost to ‘gli Azzurri’.
Wales, on the other hand, fought bravely against a much fancied Scotland side that are looking to achieve their first Six Nations Championship victory since the new format was introduced in 2000. Wales, despite donning a side short of both experience and confidence, pushed their northern rivals right up until the end, with only one point separating the two sides as the final whistle blew.
England scrum-half Danny Care has been speaking to the BBC Rugby Union Daily Podcast about their upcoming opponents, and this is what he’s had to say:
“They have some young lads full of talent coming to Twickenham to play their first game,
“Some of my best and worst memories have been playing against Wales. You try to embrace it. We talked about it a bit last night, about being back in Twickenham and facing one of your fearsome longest rivals that we have massive amounts of respect for.
“This is the game you want to play in and you want your friends and family there to make them proud. Every time you play against Wales it is an incredible Test match and really physical and feisty.”
Young fullback Freddie Steward also spoke about the pressures that are instilled on players when they pull on the white of England: “As players when you play for England you are expected to win and when you don’t win, understandably you don’t have the fans on your side and there was a bit of that in the warm-ups to the World Cup,”
“I would never blame the fans and say they need to lift us. They do that on the back of what we do, so the responsibility is ours.
“During the World Cup when we got to the semi-final it felt like that is what it can be like. As players we want that all the time but we have to put the performances on the field to earn that.
“The fans are the heartbeat of what we do. We want Twickenham to erupt and we want it to be a place we want to go and play in front of our fans and represent them.”
Wales team to face England: Winnett; Dyer, North, Tompkins, Adams; Lloyd, Williams; G Thomas, Dee, Assiratti, Jenkins (capt), Beard, Mann, Reffell, Wainwright.
Replacements: Elias, Domachowski, Griffin, Rowlands, Basham, Hardy, Evans, Grady.