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Six Nations 2024: England and Wales prepare for 'the biggest game'

Six Nations 2024: England and Wales prepare for 'the biggest game'

video caption, 'Amazing' – Warburton shocks Mooney with England v Wales prediction

Guinness Six Nations: England v Wales

place: Twickenham Stadium date: Saturday 10 February Starting: 16:45 GMT

coverage: Listen to BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru; Live text on the BBC Sport website and app; Watch it on ITV1 and S4C

It will be more than just bragging rights at stake when England and Wales renew their long-standing rivalry at Twickenham in the Six Nations on Saturday.

The home side will want to continue building momentum as they try to spark excitement on their return to Twickenham, while Wales look to kick-start their campaign after defeat to Scotland.

Steve Borthwick's side have been unchanged at home since their opening win over Italy, but the visitors made seven changes in their short trip to a land where recent history has not been kind to them.

Twickenham Castle

England have made no secret of their ambition to fortify their base in London, but they will have to quickly erase the bitter memory of a friendly defeat to Fiji in their last home match in preparation for the World Cup.

Under new captain Jimmy George and supported by the raucous Twickenham fans, this England side are looking to set the record straight.

Hooker George wants to entertain and “put a smile on faces” among the England fan base. The win in Rome showed glimpses of their greater attacking endeavour, despite England being outscored 3-2 in attempts by the Azzurri.

Wales arrive at Twickenham without a win in their past seven visits.

Victories in 2008 and 2012 paved the way for Grand Slams, before knocking the hosts out of the World Cup finals in 2015, but those are the exceptions rather than the rule.

Wales trailed 27-0 before staging a comeback to cut the deficit to one point in Cardiff, but an equally slow start in a hostile English environment could present them with an insurmountable task.

Where to win the game?

England will continue to implement their new blitzing defense to try and thwart Wales' attack, but that could provide the visitors with chances out wide.

Luke Ole Chisum was not in sync with his team-mates and failed on both of Italy's tries in the first half, but the hosts have worked on their consistency with defense coach Felix Jones all week, so expect a more polished preparation.

However, winger Rio Dier shone in Wales' recovery last weekend, and if Gatland's players can nullify England's pacey defense in midfield, they could exploit the wings.

video caption, Six Nations: Who will be the next Six Nations stars?

Elsewhere, it's a case of being tried and tested against a relative newcomer looking to create his own legacy in the fly-half.

The experienced George Ford will earn his 93rd cap for England, while opposite player Euan Lloyd will win just his fourth on his debut for Wales.

From a Wales perspective, with the injured and inexperienced Sam Costello unable to hold down his place for the Scotland game, Lloyd could stake a claim to retain the famous red No.10 shirt for the remainder of the tournament, six days after the sport ends. Losing Barry John, one of the greatest to ever wear it.

Lloyd, a versatile 22-year-old full-back, led Wales' recovery last week with his movement and distribution and can unleash the power of outside center George North, who is returning from injury to make his 50th Six Nations appearance.

Excel forward

The England group was relentless in creating solid and penetrating holes in the Italian defence.

New signing Ethan Roots impressed with his athleticism and maneuverability in the Royal Blue shirt, while Maro Itoje dominated at the breakdown and in the line-up, and Chandler Cunningham-Smith came off the bench to impose himself in the free zone.

Wales' attackers surrendered in the first half last weekend before taking the lead in the second half, led by Aaron Wainwright, Alex Mann and young captain David Jenkins.

Wainwright and Mann both fired in from close range, while 21-year-old Exeter Luke Jenkins, who will test his skills up front against the formidable Itoje, said Twickenham was the “best place to win” as a Welshman.

This sentiment was echoed by Gareth Thomas, who told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Everyone in Wales loves playing England. It's the biggest game of the year for us.”

Expect a lot of determination and aggression in the first set.

video caption, Six Nations 2024: A weekend in the life of BBC Sport pundit and former Wales captain Warburton
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