Wales may travel to Twickenham as underdogs - but I wouldn't bet against them beating England
If we're to believe Jinx the seal, Wales are in for a win at Twickenham against England on Saturday. But what Jinx the seal might not know is that Wales have failed to win a Six Nations match there since 2012...
So could this be the year?
This morning, at the Wales and England squad announcement, I asked England’s Head Coach Eddie Jones what this fixture meant to him.
He told me it was a “privilege“ to be involved in it.
“Both teams understand what’s at stake”, he added.
“Both teams will be well prepared and it will be a tough old game.”
And a tough old game is likely - because apart from a few exceptions, matches between these two old rivals have largely been very tight over the last twenty years.
Both teams come into round 3 of the Six Nations with one victory and one loss, and both are yet to play France - who currently top the table.
But, effectively, whoever wins this Saturday COULD still end up winning the Championship, with only France standing in their way.
Lose - and basically it’s a case of what position in the table you’ll end up in.
So what about the team Pivac has selected?
The big talking point is Louis Rees-Zammit being left out of the match day squad and being released to play for his club team Gloucester. The young star has been given things to work on by Pivac after a couple of tough games against Ireland and Scotland.
But Rees-Zammit can take comfort from the fact that both George North and Adam Beard have suffered the same fate previously - and come back stronger.
Another player that both fans and the squad are happy to see back is Taulupe Faletau.
Pivac described Faletau’s return to the starting 15 as “exciting”, after almost a year’s absence from Wales following injury.
Josh Adams is an equally welcome return, after recovering from a calf strain which ruled him out of Scotland. And I’ve no doubt Wales fans will be pleased to see him starting on the wing, rather than the centre.
And one other player I want to highlight is Alex Cuthbert, retaining his position on the wing and getting his 50th cap for Wales. Wales’ game against Scotland two weeks ago was his first Six Nations game in five years and he impressed with his physicality and experience.
‘I for one wouldn’t bet against them’
Dan Biggar told me earlier this week that Wales will need to start quicker against England, as previously they have let the game run away from them despite a late comeback.
But England will certainly be hoping to derail Wales’ chances of retaining the Six Nations championship - and with the return of Manu Tuilagi and Courtney Lawes this has certainly increased the likelihood.
So, Wales may be travelling to Twickenham as the perceived underdogs, but we’ve been here plenty of times before - and I for one wouldn’t bet against them.