The three weeks between now and February 6th; when Wales host England at the Millennium Stadium for the Six Nations opener

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The three weeks between now and February 6th; when Wales host England at the Millennium Stadium for the Six Nations opener, will pass quickly for both sides. Stuart Lancaster’s England side will be prepared for a tight encounter, a tale borne out by odds at the bookies;, they find themselves only narrowly favoured over their hosts, priced at 1.96.

English rugby fans will not soon forget the outcome last time their team visited Cardiff during the Six Nations, as two years ago England slid to a 30-3 defeat which effectively ended any chance of winning the championship. Stuart Lancaster and his team will be determined not only to avenge that defeat, but to start this campaign on a positive note as it represents one of the last opportunities for silverware prior to the World Cup,

The coach will have many selection dilemmas to toss up before the big game, and first up will be who to replace Number 8 Billy Morgan, who last week broke his leg in action for Gloucester and certainly will not feature. 22 year old Billy Vunipola, with 12 caps so far, would be the most likely choice, but the recent form club form of 36 year old Nick Easter, is drawing calls for his return.

England are also likely to be without longer term absentees Joe Lanchbury and Manu Tuilagi but will be bolstered by the return of Tom Croft, Mako Vunipola and Alex Corbisiero. Save for Morgan’s extremely unfortunate injury; England may consider themselves to be relatively unscathed by injury. Wales, on the other hand, have suffered a rash of last minute scares as Scarlets’ full back Liam Williams as well as props Rhodri Jones and Samson Lee, sustained injuries in recent weeks.

Williams shoulder injury is recovering well, but still puts him in doubt for Wales’ opener, which many had tipped him to start. Wales international Samson Lee suffered a neck injury in the same game (against Ospreys) that his club and international teammate Jones dislocated a shoulder.

Much will be on the line on February 6th; and a thrilling atmosphere can be guaranteed at the Millennium Stadium, which will surely be sold to its 74,500 capacity. With not much between the two sides, many eyes will be leveled in the direction of managers Stuart Lancaster and Warren Gatland after a game in which tactical play is likely to be decisive.

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