Wales take on England in a potential Grand Slam decider in Cardiff. How will it play out?


WALES can’t play any worse than they have done in the first two games and it’s impossible for England to better what they did to Ireland and France.

Warren Gatland’s side have a record to break in Cardiff tomorrow but it could end up a sad day with Eddie Jones’ England all geared up to break Welsh hearts.

It’s an intriguing affair. Wales are on a good run with Gatland boasting how his side have forgotten how to lose.

England, with their big-hitters all fit and well, are playing the kind of free-flowing rugby that caught the eye when motormouth coach Jones first took over.

After a poor 18-month period, Jones is taking a bit of a back seat and letting his England players do the talking - something they’ll do plenty of when the sledging stakes hot up at 4.45 tomorrow afternoon.

A rousing rendition of the Welsh National anthem with choir-master captain Alun Wyn Jones booming it out will get the Welsh all wound up and then the players should set their minds on roughing up Owen Farrell.

It’s not exactly stop-him-and-you stop-England but his kicking is so crucial to their game and he will be one of the key men again.

The big match-winner though could be the main man in the stand - Gatland.

He’ll know how England will play and he’ll know how their star players perform having coach them on Lions’ tour.

In his final Six Nations with Wales, what a fitting finale it would be to beat the old enemy with a last minute try - just like Scott Gibbs at Wembley in 1999.

But I fear that Jones boyo will get the better of him.



THE Welsh are obsessed about it.

Those were the words of centre Jamie Roberts in the build-up to Wales versus England.

Roberts, who knows a thing or two about beating the arch enemy, was talking about rugby union in general, but his words could quite easily have been about getting the better of England.

“Nothing whets the appetite more than Wales v England,” continued the 94-cap Roberts. “The effect it has on the country if we win is unbelievable.”

The noise inside the Principality Stadium will be incredible as Wales look to keep their Grand Slam bid alive, and in turn ruin England’s hopes of a Six Nations clean sweep.

Throw in the fact that Wales need just one more win to break a century-old record of 11 successive victories and the desire to succeed is greater than ever.

But, and this is a big but, can Wales raise their game significantly enough to beat and England side that has looked so impressive in the opening rounds of this year’s competition?

The loss of Mako Vunipola and continued absence of Maro Itoje certainly provides Wales with a boost, and the hosts will definitely want to test England’s defence out more than Ireland and France did - the latter exposing cracks on their rare forays forward.

England’s attack looks finely tuned at present, however, and with Owen Farrell marshalling the troops, it will be Eddie Jones who is smiling at 6.30pm.



In an era where seemingly every sporting rivalry is over-hyped by broadcasters, this weekend’s fixture towers head and shoulders above the rest.

The enmity between these two nations has not diminished and, with so much at stake for both sides, the stage is set for a thrilling contest in the Welsh capital.

An expectant, hostile Cardiff crowd will be baying for blood and looking to upset the odds against an English side who’ve looked unstoppable in the opening rounds of this year’s Six Nations.

Eddie Jones’ side made tournament-favourites Ireland look ordinary in Dublin before demolishing France - victories built on ferocious defending and the outstanding form of Jonny May, Owen Farrell and Henry Slade. By contrast, Wales have flattered to deceive so far and have struggled for fluency.

They may be in the midst of an 11-game winning streak but their comeback victory in Paris was effectively gift-wrapped by France’s inept second half display.

Warren Gatland’s much-changed XV then made hard work of a 26-15 victory in Italy, a performance that left the New Zealander underwhelmed.

Arguably, the two-week fixture break will have benefitted Wales more. It may have given the Dragons time to regroup and drill down their tactical approach for the game, while disrupting England’s positive momentum.

Old rivalries notwithstanding, this Dragons side has the chance to become statistically the best team in Wales’ history and you have to expect that they will rise to the occasion. Sadly my head rules my heart in terms of outcome.



I DON’T profess to be the biggest rugby union fan - but even I would be taking a big interest in this game if I wasn’t covering Wrexham in the North East.

I’ll be at far-flung Gateshead when Wales take on England in what could be a Six Nations decider. When the final whistle blows in the north east, and promotion chasing Wrexham hopefully celebrate another win to stay top of the National League, Wales and England will have just kicked off in their eagerly awaited encounter in Cardiff.

For us media, it will be case of interviews done pitch-side and then quickly make our way back to the car to start the long journey home, with the radio tuned into the rugby.

I probably wouldn’t be 100 per cent focused on the television if I could watch the game, so listening in as an alternative doesn’t really bother me.

But even my ears will prick up when I hear Wales pushing towards the try line or battling away at the other end of the pitch to stop England crossing the whitewash.

It promises to be an exciting encounter and with Wales on such a good run, they will fancy their chances of adding Eddie Jones’ men to their list of scalps.

I’m no expert and maybe my heart rules my head but I’m backing Wales to just come out on top to give Warren Gatland another chance of success in his final year in charge.