It is a fixture which always embodies much emotion, tradition and attention, and this one will be no different as Eddie Jones’ England make the trip the Wales to take on Wayne Pivac’s charges in the Principality Stadium.
England, with one loss and a victory to their name, seem to be under no illusions regarding the bruising encounter which awaits them on Saturday.
Interestingly, the last six match-ups between these traditional powerhouses, only once has there occurred a winning margin greater than 7 points – illustrating well the competitiveness at play here.
This particular game is crucial for England as a victory will place them back in contention for the title. They began their campaign with a surprise loss to a vibrant and determined Scotland outfit which became the first representatives of their country to win at Twickenham for 38 years.
Thereafter, the English were given an opportunity to redeem themselves against Italy in Rome, one which they grabbed with both hands as they romped to a 41-18 victory.
England’s defence coach John Mitchell spoke this week:
“They’re [Wales] extremely competitive, it will require us to work really, really hard for each other as these games often go down to the wire. We’re really looking forward to it and showing what we’re capable of for the rest of the Six Nations.
“It’s one of those occasions that means a lot to both countries and players. Both countries have had sustained success but none of that really matters when it comes to playing against each other.”
Wales, after a difficult run of it in recent times, have put together a great campaign thus far, with two victories from as many appearances – against Ireland and Scotland respectively.
Mithcell seems to believe that Wayne Pivac’s influence could finally be bearing fruit.
“He’s been in the game a long time, you can clearly see his philosophy coming through of wanting to play the game at speed and move the ball,” Mitchell said. “Like any good coach you’ve got to learn quickly at the highest level when you don’t get things right, and you’ve got to take your hat off to him because at the moment they’re playing really good rugby.”