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Wales make three changes for England


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Article Published: Wednesday 22 February 2012


Wales have made three changes to their team that played Scotland for this weekend's match against England at Twickenham with Sam Warburton returning to captain the team.

Warburton's return to the starting line up means that Ryan Jones, moves to the bench, with Sale Sharks back row Andy Powell missing out.

Ospreys second row Alun Wyn Jones comes straight into the starting line-up against England, after completing his return from a toe injury to join up with the squad earlier this week and will win his 60th cap.

Finally, Scarlets hooker Ken Owens makes his first start for his country in place of injured Osprey Huw Bennett (calf).

Owens won the second of his two caps as a replacement in the 27-13 win over the Scots at the Millennium Stadium just under a fortnight ago and made his debut from the bench against Namibia in the Pool stages of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The Wales backline remains unchanged from that which started both victories so far in the Championship, against Ireland in Dublin and Scotland in Cardiff.

"A fit again Alun Wyn Jones is selected based on his Rugby World Cup form and his experience as an international lock," said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

"He gave us a selection dilemma but it has been a great problem to have and, whilst Ryan Jones is particularly unlucky to miss out on this occasion, this is just that kind of competition for places we have been striving for.

"Ken Owens has been waiting patiently for his chance and whilst injuries elsewhere have meant he gets his opportunity this weekend and we are expecting him to take it."

On the bench Osprey Richard Hibbard provides the front row cover alongside prop Paul James (with Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees also ruled out with a calf problem) and fellow Osprey Jones replaces Sale Sharks back row Andy Powell, with Justin Tipuric completing the forward replacements.

Blues scrum half Lloyd Williams, Perpignan pivot James Hook and Scarlets centre Scott Williams are all retained to provide cover for the backs.

Wales:

Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, George North; Rhys Priestland, Michael Phillips; Gethin Jenkins, Ken Owens, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Ian Evans, Danny Lydiate, Sam Warburton (C), Toby Faletau

Replacements: Richard Hibbard, Paul James, Ryan Jones, Justin Tipuric, Lloyd Williams, James Hook, Scott Williams.

 
 
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