- Eddie Jones makes only two changes to team that beat France
- Joe Cokanasiga set to make Six Nations debut off the bench
Jack Nowell and Ben Moon have been named to start for England against Wales on Saturday as Eddie Jones makes two changes to his side. Joe Cokanasiga, the 21-year-old winger who scored two tries in his first two England matches during the autumn, is also in line for a first Six Nations appearance having been named on the bench.
Nowell comes in on the right wing in place of the injured Chris Ashton – he may well have done so anyway considering his performance away to Ireland – while his Exeter team-mate Moon will make his first Six Nations start at loosehead with Mako Vunipola ruled out for the rest of the tournament with an ankle injury. Brad Shields is another set for his first appearance in the championship having been preferred to Nathan Hughes on the bench.
Moon won his first cap at the age of 29 during the autumn and will make his third start against Wales. He was on the bench for England’s 44-8 victory over France last time out and gets the nod ahead of Ellis Genge, who provides cover as a replacement.
Nowell is the logical choice on the wing, having excelled in Dublin and his all-round game is highly valued by Jones. Cokanasiga meanwhile, only made his return from a 10-week lay-off due to a knee injury in Bath’s Premiership victory over Newcastle last Saturday. He has so far hit the ground running at international level, scoring tries against Japan and Australia in the autumn but Jones has understandably opted against throwing him in at the deep end at the Principality stadium.
Harry Williams also replaces Dan Cole as tighthead cover on the bench but that aside, Jones has largely kept faith with the squad who beat France so comprehensively.
Looking ahead to the game, Jones said: “England and Wales is always a big game. Intense rivals and there is the historical context to it, but for us it is our most important game because it is our next game and that is how we are treating it.