England v Wales, Six Nations, February 6
Injury hit Wales face bold England
February 4, 2010
England's Mathew Tait takes part in a training session, Pennyhill Park Hotel, Bagshot, Surrey, England, February 2, 2010
Mathew Tait returns to the England midfield © Getty Images
Related Links
Tournaments/Tours: Six Nations
Teams: England | Wales

Injuries have ruled British & Irish Lions duo Matthew Rees and Gethin Jenkins out of Wales' Six Nations opener against England, handing rare starts to Cardiff Blues' Gareth Williams and the Ospreys' Paul James.

Hooker Rees is sidelined with a groin injury while prop Jenkins has been ruled out with a calf problem suffered in training. The news was a huge blow to Warren Gatland's men, who had looked set to field a complete Lions front-row for the game. Adam Jones starts alongside Williams and James, with Luke Charteris winning the battle to partner Alun-Wyn Jones in the second-row. Ryan Jones captains the side from No.8 as Andy Powell and Martyn Williams complete the back-row.

Lee Byrne starts at fullback after winning his appeal against a two-week ban following the Ospreys' 16th man controversy, allowing James Hook to start at outside-centre alongside Jamie Roberts. Gareth Cooper has won the battle to wear the No.9 shirt vacated by the injured Mike Phillips and Dwayne Peel, with Richie Rees set for a debut off the bench. The experienced Stephen Jones starts at fly-half.

Mathew Tait makes his first England start at outside centre since the 2007 Rugby World Cup final and Harlequins' Danny Care is restored at scrum-half. Delon Armitage and Riki Flutey return to the team at fullback and inside centre respectively after missing England's miserable autumn series with injuries. Nick Easter also returns at No.8 in one of six changes to the team beaten by New Zealand in their last outing.

England: D Armitage (London Irish); M Cueto (Sale Sharks), M Tait (Sale Sharks), R Flutey (Brive), U Monye (Harlequins); J Wilkinson (Toulon), D Care (Harlequins); T Payne (Wasps), D Hartley (Northampton), D Wilson (Bath), S Shaw (Wasps), S Borthwick (Saracens, capt), J Haskell (Stade Francais), L Moody (Leicester), N Easter (Harlequins)

Replacements: S Thompson (Brive), D Cole (Leicester), L Deacon (Leicester), S Armitage (London Irish), P Hodgson (London Irish), T Flood (Leicester), B Foden (Northampton)

Wales: L Byrne (Ospreys); T James (Cardiff Blues), J Hook (Ospreys), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), S Williams (Ospreys); S Jones (Scarlets), G Cooper (Cardiff Blues); P James (Ospreys), G Williams (Cardiff Blues), A Jones (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), A Powell (Cardiff Blues), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), R Jones (Ospreys, capt)

Replacements: H Bennett (Ospreys), R Gill (Saracens), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), J Thomas (Ospreys), R Rees (Cardiff Blues), A Bishop (Ospreys), L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues)

Referee: A Rolland (Ireland)

Get all the latest rugby news and views on your mobile - check out http://m.scrum.com

© Scrum.com

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.