Gatland names team early

Wales boss Warren Gatland has sprung the first surprise of this season’s RBS 6 Nations Championship – by naming his team to face England 48 hours early.

Gatland names team early

Wales boss Warren Gatland has sprung the first surprise of this season’s RBS 6 Nations Championship – by naming his team to face England 48 hours early.

Gatland has revealed his hand for Friday night’s Millennium Stadium showdown two days ahead of schedule.

And it contains no surprises as Wales prepare for a World Cup dress rehearsal against opponents they crushed by a record 30-3 scoreline the last time England visited Cardiff two years ago.

The team, which was announced on the Welsh Rugby Union’s official Twitter feed, shows just two changes from the side that toppled South Africa in November, with wing George North and hooker Richard Hibbard both returning to action.

Wales captain Sam Warburton, meanwhile, will win his 50th cap.

"We decided to name the team early to give the players the best possible chance of preparation”, said Gatland.

"It was a tough call on the two changes we have made from the side that beat South Africa, but its good to have these and other tough selection decisions and it's a strong position to be in.

"We are excited about kicking the tournament off on Friday against a strong England side in front of a packed Millennium Stadium."

Wales team to play England in the RBS 6 Nations Championship at the Millennium Stadium on Friday.

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).

Replacements: S Baldwin (Ospreys), P James (Bath), A Jarvis (Ospreys), L Charteris (Racing Metro), J Tipuric (Ospreys), M Phillips (Racing Metro), R Priestland (Scarlets), L Williams (Scarlets).

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