Leigh Halfpenny and Wales intent on avenging Twickenham ‘hurt’ against England

Leigh Halfpenny says Wales will carry their Twickenham "hurt" of last season into tomorrow night’s RBS 6 Nations opener against England.

Leigh Halfpenny and Wales intent on avenging Twickenham ‘hurt’ against England

While much is made of England’s Millennium Stadium implosion the last time they visited Cardiff two years ago, subsiding to a record 30-3 defeat, Wales fell away 11 months ago in south-west London.

Only Halfpenny’s superb goal-kicking kept them in the contest, but his six penalties were eclipsed as England prevailed 29-18.

And to rub salt into Wales’ wounds, full-back Halfpenny suffered a dislocated shoulder late in the contest that meant a lengthy lay-off and sidelined him from last summer’s two-Test South Africa tour.

“We were disappointed last year to have gone there and not perform to the standards we set ourselves,” he said.

“And that is something that has been with us since. We will use that hurt to full effect. We have done our analysis and things and it was not easy to watch. The performance wasn’t the standard it should be, so Friday night is an opportunity to put that right.

“I think the pressure we have is what we put on ourselves to perform. That’s what we put on ourselves and what we need on Friday night.”

Halfpenny is among 13 of the side that started at Twickenham who return for the latest England clash tomorrow, which comes just under eight months before the countries meet in a crunch World Cup pool game.

Both countries ended their autumn campaigns earlier this season with notable victories — Wales beating South Africa, while England toppled Australia — which has set the scene perfectly for match number 126 between two of rugby’s oldest and fiercest rivals.

England will field the ninth centre combination of Lancaster’s three-year reign in Luther Burrell and Jonathan Joseph.

Ranged against the inexperienced duo will be Test British and Irish Lions Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies, who between them have 107 caps – 94 more than their rivals tomorrow night.

“We’re happy with the way our centre combination has trained. Luther will bring that gainline threat and physical presence,” England head coach Stuart Lancaster said.

“Jonathan has been outstanding for Bath over the last six months really. We’re up against two very experienced centres.”

Meanwhile scrum-half Rory Kockott will make his first start for France in their Six Nations opener against Scotland in Paris on Saturday.

The South African-born player, who earned three caps off the bench for Philippe Saint-Andre’s men in the autumn internationals, comes in for the injured Sebastien Tillous-Borde.

Saint-Andre told L’Equipe: “We know that Rory is a competitor at heart, very strong in the tackle, either offensively or defensively.”

Les Bleus have made seven changes to the side that lost 18-13 to South Africa in Paris in November.

WALES (v England): L Halfpenny (Toulon); A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Clermont Auvergne), J Roberts (Racing Metro), G North (Northampton); D Biggar (Ospreys), R Webb (Ospreys); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), R Hibbard (Gloucester), S Lee (Scarlets), J Ball (Scarlets), A-W Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Ospreys), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

ENGLAND (v Wales): M Brown (Harlequins); A Watson (Bath Rugby), J Joseph (Bath Rugby), L Burrell (Northampton Saints), J May (Gloucester Rugby); G Ford (Bath Rugby), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers); J Marler (Harlequins), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), D Attwood (Bath Rugby), G Kruis (Saracens), J Haskell (Wasps), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), B Vunipola (Saracens).

FRANCE v Scotland: (S Spedding; Y Huget, M Bastareaud, W Fofana, T Thomas; C Lopez, R Kockott; D Chouly, T Dusautoir, B Le Roux; Y Maestri, P Pape; R Slimani, G Guirado, A Menini.

Replacements: B Kayser, U Atonio, E Ben Arous, R Taofifenua, L Goujon, M Parra, R Tales, R Lamerat).

More in this section

CourtsRugbyPlace: TwickenhamPlace: CardiffPlace: south-west LondonPlace: South AfricaPlace: ParisPerson: Leigh HalfpennyPerson: HalfpennyPerson: Luther BurrellPerson: Jonathan JosephPerson: Jamie RobertsPerson: Jonathan DaviesPerson: LutherPerson: Stuart LancasterPerson: JonathanPerson: Rory KockottPerson: Philippe Saint-AndrePerson: Sebastien Tillous-BordePerson: Saint-AndrePerson: RoryPerson: L HalfpennyPerson: A CuthbertPerson: J DaviesPerson: J RobertsPerson: G NorthPerson: D BiggarPerson: R WebbPerson: G JenkinsPerson: R HibbardPerson: S LeePerson: J BallPerson: A-W JonesPerson: D LydiatePerson: S WarburtonPerson: T FaletauPerson: M BrownPerson: A WatsonPerson: J JosephPerson: L BurrellPerson: J MayPerson: G FordPerson: J MarlerPerson: D HartleyPerson: D ColePerson: D AttwoodPerson: G KruisPerson: J HaskellPerson: C RobshawPerson: B VunipolaPerson: S SpeddingPerson: HugetPerson: M BastareaudPerson: W FofanaPerson: T ThomasPerson: C LopezPerson: R KockottPerson: D ChoulyPerson: T DusautoirPerson: B Le RouxPerson: MaestriPerson: P PapePerson: R SlimaniPerson: G GuiradoPerson: A MeniniPerson: KayserPerson: U AtonioPerson: E Ben ArousPerson: R TaofifenuaPerson: L GoujonPerson: M ParraPerson: R TalesPerson: R LamératEvent: World CupEvent: Six NationsOrganisation: WalesOrganisation: EnglandOrganisation: Wales’Organisation: South AfricaOrganisation: AustraliaOrganisation: LancasterOrganisation: Irish LionsOrganisation: BathOrganisation: FranceOrganisation: ScotlandOrganisation: L’EquipeOrganisation: LesOrganisation: ToulonOrganisation: Cardiff BluesOrganisation: Clermont AuvergneOrganisation: Racing MetroOrganisation: NorthamptonOrganisation: OspreysOrganisation: GloucesterOrganisation: ScarletsOrganisation: Newport Gwent DragonsOrganisation: HarlequinsOrganisation: Bath RugbyOrganisation: Northampton SaintsOrganisation: Gloucester RugbyOrganisation: Leicester TigersOrganisation: SaracensOrganisation: Wasps

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