England and Wales look to put one foot in the quarter-finals in a game that will shape Pool A and the remainder of the Rugby World Cup at Twickenham.

Where to watch

England vs Wales kicks off at 8pm BST on 26 September. Live coverage is available on ITV HD and BBC Radio Five Live.


Arguably the biggest match on English soil since the World Cup semi-finals of 1999 sees two of the Six Nations collide, with a place in the quarter-finals at stake for the victor. England and Wales face-off for the 127<sup>th time in international competition, with everything on the line at Twickenham.

The build-up to the biggest game of the Rugby World Cup so far has taken place against a back-drop of controversy. While Stuart Lancaster has been forced to defend his dubious team selection for a defining game of his tenure in charge, Warren Gatland's Wales have been accused of breaking the spirit of the rules by World Rugby.

Never before has the selection of an England team caused so much debate and sparked such consternation from the rugby fraternity. Owen Farrell, who has not started a competitive international at fly-half since November 2014, has been given the nod ahead of George Ford, while the injured Jonathan Joseph has been replaced in the centre by Sam Burgess after just 112 minutes worth of international union experience. Billy Vunipola comes in for Ben Morgan in an expected change at number 8, but does not approach the storm created the midfield mishmash.

Owen Farrell
Owen Farrell has been given the nod ahead of George Ford Getty Images

Lancaster has denied this is a panic move but there is no denying it is in a reaction to the power that Wales will look to exert, with the nullifying of Jamie Roberts top of the England coach's priorities. It points towards an encounter based on both sides' accuracy at the set-piece and the break down, where Wales have a deluge of options.

The Sam Warburton and Dan Lydiate axis in the back row could be Wales' route to victory, with scrapping at the breakdown likely to overwhelm England's pair of Chris Robshaw and Tom Wood. Justin Tipuric is in reserve also.

While noting his surprise over England's team for the match, Gatland has also been forced to contend with a sanction by World Rugby after he called in eight non-squad players to train with the main group ahead of the game. This move contravenes the spirit of the rules according to the governing body, causing the New Zealander to rage at the authorities.

Nevertheless, it may turn out to be those that are missing both in person and in spirit who could undo the Welsh. The list of those to have suffered tournament-blighting injuries is well-recognised, but in the form of George North, who is still to discover full match sharpness after five months out, and benched fellow Lions winner Alex Cuthbert, two key players are short of the form required for such a high-pressure encounter.

Dan Lydiate
Dan Lydiate has a key role to play at the breakdown Getty Images


England: 15. Mike Brown, 14. Anthony Watson, 13. Brad Barritt, 12. Sam Burgess, 11. Jonny May, 10. Owen Farrell, 9. Ben Youngs; 1. Joe Marler, 2. Tom Youngs, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Geoff Parling, 5. Courtney Lawes, 6. Tom Wood, 7. Chris Robshaw, 8. Billy Vunipola

Replacements: 16. Rob Webber, 17. Mako Vunipola, 18. Kieran Brookes, 19. Joe Launchbury, 20. James Haskell , 21. Richard Wigglesworth, 22. George Ford, 23. Alex Goode

Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Gethin Jenkins, 2 Scott Baldwin, 3 Tomas Francis, 4 Bradley Davies, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 6 Dan Lydiate, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 8 Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Aaron Jarvis, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Luke Charteris, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Alex Cuthbert.

What the coaches say

Stuart Lancaster: "My confidence has grown on the way he has come on and contributed off the bench. We scored two tries at the end of the game against Fiji and they were a lot to do with Owen Farrell and Sam Burgess. I do appreciate the point that we haven't got loads of loads of games to go back on.

"It is not a gamble. People said it was a gamble to put him in the squad. But day by day, week by week, he is proving people wrong. George was disappointed. You would want him to be. He wants to play every game. He has dealt with it brilliantly and he knows he has a big role to play, not just this week but next week and in the future of English rugby. "If I was replacing Ford with someone who had no international experience, you would say yes. But putting an in-form and confident Owen Farrell in the team isn't a risk."

Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland has been forced to deal with off-the-field distractions in Wales' build-up to the mammoth encounter. Getty Images

Warren Gatland: "We were expecting that they were going to go for the same team [as for the opening match against Fiji] so it threw us for a couple of days. At the moment we wouldn't mind the same dilemma of having that quality of choice because they've got some world-class players.

"They've got their ability to change every game. They can bring an expansive game. That's what makes them pretty dangerous at the moment, the strength on the bench. It's going to be a huge challenge for us. I'm hoping to put as much pressure on England as possible. We're just really excited about Saturday. They're a quality team, there's a huge amount of strength and depth."

Other fixtures

14:30 BST: Italy vs Canada (Elland Road)

16:45 BST: South Africa vs Samoa