England have lost Sam Underhill, Henry Slade and the exciting Ruaridh McConnochie from the team named on Friday. Lewis Ludlam, Jonathan Joseph and Joe Cokanasiga come into their respective positions. This means new combinations at back-three, half-back, midfield, back row and new mixes in the front five also. So, basically absolutely everywhere.
Gloucester scrum-half, Willi Heinz, not only makes his debut at 32 but also as vice captain. It is this fact more than any other that should have England fans worried, the longstanding dearth of leadership in the England squad has now led to this. This is nothing against Heinz himself, he’s capable and decent, but the selection carries quite the stench of ‘will this do?’ – which is shocking given Danny Care is on his holidays somewhere with all his experience.
As already mentioned, Gatland simply hit the refresh button then went for a nap, probably.
England: Daly; Cokanasiga, Joseph, Francis, Watson; Ford, Heinz; Genge, Cowan-Dickie, Cole, Launchbury, Ewels, Ludlam, Curry, B Vunipola
Replacements: Singleton, Marler, Williams, Kruis, Lawes, Youngs, Marchant, Tuilagi
Wales: L Williams; North, J Davies, Parkes, Adams; Anscombe, G Davies; Smith, Owens, Francis, Beard, Wyn Jones, Wainwright, Tipuric, Moriarty.
Replacements: Dee, Jones, Lewis, Ball, Shingler, A Davies, Biggar, Watkin