Six Nations: None bigger than Wales v England!
- Credit: PA
The Guinness Six Nations returns for the third round of games this weekend and it doesn't get much bigger than Wales against England.
The Cardiff clash is the standout match, with Ireland travelling to Italy and Scotland's trip to France postponed due to positive Covid tests in the French camp.
Usually there would be a spine-tingling atmosphere and a bundle of excitement building up all week with an expected sell-out crowd of 75,000 fans inside the Principality Stadium.
Alas, the coronavirus pandemic has put a stop to all fans attending but with all the games on TV there is no excuse of not being able to watch all the drama unfold.
The two sides have both won the competition a record-equalling 39 times each and the winner on Saturday will undoubtedly put themselves into a commanding position for the remainder of the tournament.
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Since defeat to New Zealand in the 2019 Rugby World Cup bronze medal match, which also marked the end of Warren Gatland’s reign, Wales have only picked up five wins from their last 13.
But under new coach Wayne Pivac three of those Welsh victories have come in their last three matches and they remain undefeated this year.
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Hard-fought, nail-biting triumphs over Ireland and Scotland earlier this month have secured Wales a share of top spot with France, ahead of the visit from the English.
Despite playing against 14 men in both games so far, the character shown by Pivac’s men has seen them come from behind both times to claim maximum points and a bonus-point win at Scotland shows there is strength in all areas of the pitch.
But in Louis Rees-Zammit, Wales undoubtedly have a talented player on their hands.
The 20-year-old winger tops the table for most tries scored with three to his name so far, including a brace against the Scots at Murrayfield last time out, with a fantastic solo effort seeing him speed down the touchline, chip the ball over the top and outpace the Scottish defence to go over and maintain Wales’ 100 per cent start.
And Rees-Zammit is currently among the leading points scorers with 15, level with Scotland’s Finn Russell, and only behind England’s Owen Farrell (17) and Matthieu Jalibert, leading the way with 20.
Fellow compatriot Leigh Halfpenny completes the top five with 14 points.
Saturday’s game against the current holders will be a difficult task, though, with Eddie Jones’ side recording seven wins and two defeats in their last nine meetings since Wales claimed a famous win at Twickenham in the 2015 World Cup.
But Wales, in their best run of form since winning the Six Nations back in 2019, will aim to push themselves further away from Jones’ side and move them closer to a record breaking 40th title.