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Wales v England: teams

Owen FarrellOwen Farrell will lead the attack in England’s Grand Slam decider against Wales at the Millennium on Saturday.

The Saracens playmaker recovered from the thigh injury that kept him out on last Sunday unconvincing 18-11 win against Italy at Twickenham.

However, England remained unbeaten and travel to Cardiff aiming to claim their first Grand Slam since 2003.

But reigning champions Wales can pipe England to the finishing line and retain their trophy if they beat the Red Rose side by at least eight points – seven points would be sufficient but Wales must not be outscored by three tries in the game.

Farrell’s inclusion means Toby Flood drops to the bench with his half-back partner from Sunday Danny Care as Ben Youngs is also recalled.

Despite the increasing pressure on his shoulder, Chris Ashton has been once again named on the right wing in an unchanged back line.

But there are two changes in the forwards with Tom Croft and Joe Marler coming in from the bench to replace James Haskell and Mako Vunipola at blindside and loosehead respectively.

There were injury worries over lock duo Joe Launchbury and Geoff Parling but they have both been passed fit and will carry on their partnership in the engine room.

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We have come a long way through the QBE series and the Six Nations and we want to finish well on what will be a fantastic occasion in Cardiff.

“It will be a great experience for our English team. Every single player, whether they are in the 23 or not this Saturday, has contributed to getting us in this position and they should be proud of that.

“The support of the country has been great throughout the tournament and I am sure they will be right behind us come 5 o’clock.”

Gethin Jenkins

Gethin Jenkins

Meanwhile, Toulon loosehead Gethin Jenkins has recovered from a calf injury to return to the starting XV and has also been named to captain the Welsh side.

With Ryan Jones out with a shoulder injury, Sam Warburton or Alun-Wyn Jones were tipped to replace the Ospreys flanker as captain but interim coach Rob Howley has decided to go with Jenkins for this crucial game.

England are chasing a Grand Slam but a seven-point win should see Wales retain their trophy despite a 30-22 defeat to Ireland in Cardiff in the opening round of the tournament.

Jones’ absence forced Howley to make one more change to the starting XV with Justin Tipuric coming in at openside and Warburton moving across to blindside.

“The players have worked very hard to put themselves in this position for Saturday, with three hard fought victories on the road,” said Howley.

“Gethin comes back in and will captain the side and his leadership will be invaluable.

“Saturday is a big finale for the tournament but we have a very experienced squad, who have been in this position before, that have played in big games and that will be important come kick-off.”

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues), George North (Scarlets); Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Bayonne); Gethin Jenkins (Toulon, Capt.), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Adam Jones (Ospreys); Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Ian Evans (Ospreys); Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Toby Faletau (Dragons).

Replacements: Ken Owens (Scarlets), Paul James (Bath), Scott Andrews (Cardiff Blues), Andrew Coombs (Dragons), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues), James Hook (Perpignan), Scott Williams (Scarlets).

England: Alex Goode (Saracens);  Chris Ashton (Saracens), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins); Owen Farrell (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester); Joe Marler (Harlequins), Tom Youngs (Leicester), Dan Cole (Leicester); Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Geoff Parling (Leicester); Tom Croft (Leicester), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, Capt.), Tom Wood (Northampton).

Replacements: Dylan Hartley (Northampton), David Wilson (Bath), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), James Haskell (London Wasps), Danny Care (Harlequins), Toby Flood (Leicester), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester).

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