Six Nations: Wales face selection dilemma against England as stars return

Jonathan Davies (left) and George North
Jonathan Davies (left) with George North, who could win his 100th Wales cap against England

Wales are facing major selection dilemmas for Saturday’s Six Nations match against England with leading players such as Jonathan Davies and George North returning to full fitness.

The British and Irish Lions backs missed the win in Scotland earlier this month with injuries.

But both are fit to face England, as is fellow centre Johnny Williams, creating fierce competition for midfield places.

Back-rower Josh Navidi is also available after injury.

“We’ve [almost] got a full squad to choose from, which brings a headache but is also really positive,” said Wales forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys.

“Selection meetings have taken a lot longer than they did a couple of months ago.

“There are some really difficult discussions going on about combinations but that’s very positive.

“There’s a lot of competition for places.”

The most difficult selection decisions for head coach Wayne Pivac and his staff will arguably be at centre.

North moved from the wing to start at outside centre against Ireland, scoring a try and producing an impressive all-round display with Williams inside him at 12.

With both players ruled out of the game in Scotland, Nick Tompkins and Owen Watkin started at Murrayfield, while Willis Halaholo had an excellent debut from the bench.

With those five players and the returning Davies – regarded as one of the best centres in the world when fit and firing – Pivac must whittle down six potential centres to two for England’s visit.

Wales will also have some tough calls to make among the back three, with wing Josh Adams back in the reckoning after he was suspended following a breach of Covid-19 protocols.

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny is still going through his return-to-play protocols following concussion, while scrum-half Tomos Williams has started running in training but will not be in contention to face England following a hamstring injury.

Wales have won both their first two matches of the Six Nations, overcoming numerous injuries to beat Ireland in Cardiff on the opening weekend before winning in Scotland.

England, meanwhile, lost at home to Scotland for the first time since 1983 before thrashing Italy.

Despite a torrid 2020 in which they lost seven of their 10 matches, Wales will clinch the Triple Crown if they beat England this weekend.

“A lot of players here have been through this. We understand how important the middle game of the tournament is, especially if you’ve won the first two,” said Humphreys.

“This week is huge in all aspects, and we’re aware of that.

“We don’t talk about it [Triple Crown]. We’re all aware this is on the line but we don’t need to talk about it.

“We talk about how we’re going to play, how we’re going to start and how we’re going to go about trying to win this game.”

BBC News