Kick-off: 1645, 25/02/2023
Stadium: Principality Stadium
England do not have a good record in Cardiff but can capitalise on the current crisis in Welsh rugby to put one over their old foes.
Home coach Warren Gatland has had to contend with off-field issues this week, with the possibility of a strike by his players even mooted.
That is no way to prepare for a big Six Nations match and 17/20 for the visitors to prevail by over 6.5 points is our first Wales vs England prediction.
Gatland calls for focus ‘on the rugby’
Wales have struggled badly on the pitch so far in this tournament, going down 34-10 at home to Ireland before being thrashed 35-7 by Scotland at Murrayfield.
Gatland’s return to the helm had raised hopes of a resurgence following last year’s poor results, but the 2021 champions have instead continued to slide downhill.
Toothless in attack and ill-disciplined when asked to defend, it looked like things couldn’t get any worse for Wales.
However, contractual chaos at international and regional level almost saw this match cancelled prior to a midweek players’ meeting.
Gatland declared: “The message to the players has been, ‘let’s draw a line in the sand in terms of what has been going on and focus completely on the rugby’.
“For both teams, this is a massive game, because we win on Saturday and we can get things on track a little bit more.”
Fly-half Dan Biggar and centre George North have been left out of the Wales team, while full-back Liam Williams is another high-profile absentee.
The hosts have won five of the last seven head-to-head meetings at this venue, but are hard to fancy on current form.
Looking at the 5/1 for an away win by 11-15 points.
Borthwick making steady progress
England have been understandably lacking in creative flair as Steve Borthwick gets to grips with his new position.
However, after going down 29-23 at home to Scotland, there were some encouraging signs during the first half of a 31-14 victory versus Italy at Twickenham.
Two more weeks of working together on the training ground should be of benefit and Borthwick has only made one enforced change to his starting line-up.
Anthony Watson will make his first England start in almost two years after being recalled for the injured Ollie Hassell-Collins.
Having Courtney Lawes back on the bench is a boost ahead of what could be a brutal battle up front.
The 33-year-old, who can play at flanker or lock, has not appeared for England since the July tour to Australia, which he led as captain.
“Aside from his playing ability, Courtney gets more out of the players around him,” said defence coach Kevin Sinfield.
“There aren’t that many players in world rugby who have that influence across the team. He’s certainly got it.
“He’s got a real presence – he’s physical, he’s tough and he’s very, very mobile for a big man.”
England’s rolling maul could be a major weapon in this match, especially if Owen Farrell or Henry Slade can kick any penalties close to the corner.
Jamie George is a master at latching onto the back of such moves and coming up with the ball, so he is backed to score the first try in our Wales vs England betting tips.
Scotland 35-7 WALES
ENGLAND 31-14 Italy
Join bwin today and receive up to £20 money back as a FreeBet if your first wager (3+ selections at odds of 1/2 (1.5) or greater) is a loser! Terms and conditions apply.