Wales vs England: Eyes on Henson as Wales look to overturn deficit
Martin Johnson takes a much-changed England team to Cardiff for their clash with Wales on Saturday hoping to repeat last weekend’s win at Twickenham.
A 23-19 victory was marred by Wales outscoring England in the latter part of the game by 12 points to three, and Johnson will want to see his World Cup squad prove their fitness tomorrow.
Gatland has made four changes to the Wales side, bringing in Gavin Henson, James Hook, Luke Charteris and Lloyd Burns and while all eyes will be on Hook and Henson in the back line, Gatland’s eyes will be on Burns in the front row.
With doubts about Matthew Rees’ participation in the World Cup, Burns has a serious chance to stake a claim to a starting spot in the World Cup, and Wales will need a strong front row if they are to have any chance of beating England.
The home side are 13/8 to win with England available at 8/15, and Ladbrokes have learnt their lessons from last week with Wales available at 10/11 with a handicap of +5 points.
England’s may have made 13 changes but the only real weakness compared to last week seems to be the centre partnership and even they played a key role in England’s Six Nations win.
Henson and Jamie Roberts will be eagerly awaiting their clash with Mike Tindall and Shontayne Hape, and with Toby Flood expected to throw the ball about more than Jonny Wilkinson did last week, the game could be won and lost in the centre.
Wales would argue they have the more attacking backs and George North stands out at 10/1 to be the first tryscorer, but England can build a foundation from their front row and they should register a second win in the space of a week against England.
There won’t be as much tactical kicking going on this week which leaves the potential for plenty of tries, and England to win by 1-10 points looks a good bet at 7/4.