Warren Gatland insisted Wales will head to Twickenham full of confidence despite him ripping up his side and making a total of seven changes from the one beaten by Scotland.
Wales produced an appalling first-half display to fall 27-0 behind to Gregor Townsend’s men in their 2024 Six Nations opener and although they scored 26 unanswered points to produce a near miracle comeback, they fell just short.
Head coach Gatland wasn’t impressed with the first 40 minutes and has wielded the selection knife for England.
He has changed half his starting side for Saturday’s meeting with his team’s oldest rivals with George North returning at centre.
Gatland has also named an entire new front row for the trip up the M4.
Warren Gatland has wielded the knife and made seven changes to his Wales team for Saturday’s Six Nations clash with England after a first-half horror show against Scotland
Wales trailed Scotland 27-0 at half-time in their Six Nations opener before rallying
Gareth Davies, who started at scrum-half against Scotland, has been dropped completely while fly-half Sam Costelow also misses the England game after failing a head injury assessment in round one.
Tomos Williams – who impressed off the bench last weekend – and Ioan Lloyd are Wales’ starting halfbacks. Gatland’s side will travel to Twickenham without a specialist No 10.
‘We’ve been critical and tough on ourselves this week,’ said Gatland. ‘That first half (against Scotland) was nowhere near the standards we expect.
‘We simply cannot start the same way this Saturday. We showed in the second half against Scotland what we are capable of.
‘Now, it’s about building on that performance and playing with some tempo from the off.
‘We’ve made a few changes to the starting line-up this weekend which gives opportunities to the players coming in. We need to be accurate and keep our discipline.
‘This is a massive game, not only because of the history and what it means to everyone in Wales. But it’s an opportunity to get things on track a bit more. England are in a rebuilding phase.
‘We’ll go there with a lot of confidence we can build on that second half.’
George North returns to the Welsh line-up having not been deemed fit enough last weekend
Alex Mann goes over for a debut try against Scotland and now comes in from the start
North wasn’t quite deemed fit to face Scotland due to a shoulder injury but is back to make what will be his 50th Six Nations appearance alongside Nick Tompkins in midfield. The return of the Test centurion is a big boost for Gatland.
Rookie flanker Alex Mann, who made his debut against Scotland, replaces James Botham who suffered a knee injury last week.
An entire new front row of Gareth Thomas, Elliot Dee and Keiron Assiratti starts against England. Dee replaces Ryan Elias at hooker.
Elias was substituted at half time in the Scotland game after Wales lost five line-outs in the opening 40 minutes.
Captain Dafydd Jenkins and Adam Beard continue their second-row partnership, with Will Rowlands on the bench after joining the Welsh camp for the first time this campaign on Monday.
Prop Archie Griffin, who is yet to start a game for Bath, is in line for a Test debut as a replacement.