England Six Nations team will be without midfielder Marcus Smith (calf) for the Six Nations match against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday; Smith also missed the opening win over Italy due to injury; Steve Borthwick’s side won 27-24 in Rome after a second-half comeback.
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Marcus Smith will miss England’s second Six Nations game against Wales next Saturday after failing to recover from the calf injury that kept him out of the narrow victory over Italy. George Ford started the first half for England in Rome’s 27-24 win, with debutant Fin Smith coming on for the final 14 minutes.
Marcus Smith will again be absent for the home match with Wales at Twickenham on February 10. Ellis Genge has been included in the 36-man squad that will assemble at Penny hill Park ahead of the Wales clash, with the prop being pulled out of the squad late on. Italy playing with a leg problem.
Genge’s place on the bench was taken by Beno Obano, with the Bath man replacing Joe Marler late in the evening in Rome. Speaking about Genge, England coach Steve Borthwick said: “I really hope Ellis will be available next weekend.
He trained on Thursday and felt something. He had a foot scan on Friday morning. There was a small, acute repetition of what had happened in the past. England also announced that Leicester defender George Martin will join the squad to continue his rehabilitation from injury.
England Six Nations squad for Wales match
Forwards: Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons), Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Alex Coles (Northampton Saints), Chandler Cunningham-South (Harlequins), Ben Curry (Sale Sharks), Theo Dan (Saracens), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins), Ben Earl (Saracens), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears), Jamie George (Saracens), Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Beno Obano (Bath Rugby), Tom Pearson (Northampton Saints), Ethan Roots (Exeter Chiefs), Will Stuart (Bath Rugby), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby).
Backs: Oscar Beard (Harlequins), Danny Care (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Saracens), Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints), Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (Exeter Chiefs), George Ford (Sale Sharks), Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints), George Furbank (Northampton Saints), Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints), Will Muir (Bath Rugby), Max Ojomoh (Bath Rugby), Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks) , Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Fin Smith (Northampton Saints), Ben Spencer (Bath Rugby), Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers)
Six Nations 2024: Wales comeback offers hope against England
Aaron Wainwright believes Wales can find a way to beat England in the Six Nations on Saturday. The Wales defender was man of the match despite his side’s agonizing 27-26 defeat to Scotland. Wainwright scored the third of Wales’ four tries in a remarkable comeback that fell apart in Cardiff.
But he insisted young Wales had learned their lessons for the visit to Twickenham, where they have not won in nine years. We need to be more precise. We didn’t retain the ball, whether it was due to execution or role knowledge, and we need to correct that,” he said.
“But one of the most encouraging things was how we kept fighting and gave ourselves a chance to win. This will give us momentum next week. We need to take the energy from the second half and build it within ourselves and be successful. I’m sure we’re ready from the first whistle.”
England have to make sure it doesn’t take a first half like that to get the game started because we won’t be able to start like that next week. This performance in the second half will give us confidence and if we can repeat it for the full 80, that will be great.
Six Nations – Shock Comeback Falls Short:
James Botham, Rio Dyer and Alex Mann scored the remaining tries as Wales came back from 27-0 down in a shock comeback that narrowly missed out on becoming the biggest comeback in Six Nations history. However, the investigation of the first 45 minutes will be brutal.
Warren Gatland described the first half as one of the worst he has involved in as Wales failed to score for the first time in the first half of a Six Nations game. Wainwright admitted nerves in the first game may have affected Wales, with three players making their Championship debuts and a further two returning to Test rugby after a layoff of almost three years.
It wasn’t the start we wanted, but we showed what we can do once we start putting something together, he said. At half-time, Warren spoke of fewer unforced errors and being more direct with the ball.
So we backed ourselves. We knew we had to keep digging because we had a long way to go and the guys coming off the bench had a huge impact on turning things around. Wales just needed a little more composure at the end. We lost, but these are the games you want to participate in. The scoreboard is ticking, the faith is growing, the crowd is roaring, it was amazing.
Five more minutes and we might have won. This is a bitter disappointment. Next week we need to act with full energy and precision. Wales haven’t won at Twickenham since the 2015 World Cup and England opened the Six Nations with a 27-24 win over Italy.
England Six Nations squad: Where does Borthwick go against Wales
Flanker Ethan Roots shone against Italy, as did Tommy Freeman. But this England Six Nations team is struggling with a new – and certainly aggressive – defensive system while trying to play a little more in attack. Will the match against Wales look more stable?
However, England coach Steve Bothwick has some big decisions to make ahead of the first match at Six Nations headquarters, given they edged Italy in Rome by just three points after a second-half comeback and lost to the hosts by 24 points in total.
As Borthwick said after the match: There’s a lot to work on, but I’m glad we got it done. Wales, on the other hand, staged a comeback of their own (albeit finishing a little late), trailing 27-0 and losing by just a single point, 27-26. Wales head coach Warren Gatland said the first half one of the worst 40 minutes he had ever seen from one of his teams but they came roaring back.
With both England and Wales leaving the second half to step up their game, it will interesting to see what decisions made to try and come out on top from the opening whistle.
Wales should take confidence from Scotland loss, says Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland told his Wales team to go out and play some rugby in the second half of their epic 27-26 Six Nations defeat to Scotland on Saturday, when they scored 26 unanswered points and nearly pulled off one of the greatest comebacks of all time.
Scotland led 27-0 after 45 minutes in Cardiff but when they allowed their discipline to deteriorate, Wales took advantage of two yellow cards to fight back with four tries to lose by a point when it looked like they might lose by a record score line. You can also read England Vs Wales – Contrasting Journeys and Renewed Hopes in Six Nations 2024.
It’s difficult (to sum up the game), Gatland told reporters. I am very disappoint with the first half. We were very inaccurate, lacked pace in the game and conceded several soft penalties. The message at half-time was simple: just go out and play rugby. They should be proud that they didn’t give up. But we have to make sure that we are smarter than we are.
“We probably have a lot to learn, but this is a step in the right direction.”
Six Nations 2024 – Gatland Relies on Team’s Character:
Gatland believes his team’s character has shone through and will help them against England at Twickenham next Saturday. As I just said to the players, did we respect them (Scotland) too much? If we had done what we did, other teams might have shown less character. They continued to fight and positioned themselves to win.
“We just need to play like we did in the second half (against England). They are in the recovery phase and we will go there with confidence.”
Gatland believes critics of his side shouldn’t too harsh given fullback Cameron Winnett was playing only his 16th game of professional rugby. He was good. Gatland was accurate. He got more involved in the second half. He didn’t have many offensive chances. But he was calm and commanding, Gatland said.
“It is impossible to train experience. When you play in front of 75,000 people, sometimes it takes a while for the players to get used to it. We’ll need a little leeway but it’s still Test rugby and it’s about winning. This is what we need to focus on. We need to be tough on ourselves.”
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