Warren Gatland rings the changes ahead of England clash

Warren Gatland rings the changes
© PA Photos
Wales boss Warren Gatland makes four changes ahead of Wales's England test.

Wales coach Warren Gatland has made four changes to the Wales squad that lost 23-19 to England last weekend at Twickenham ahead of the return clash at Cardiff on Saturday.

Perpignan-bound James Hook will replace injured Scarlets fullback Morgan Stoddart, while the unattached Gavin Henson gets his chance to impress at inside-centre replacing Jonathan Davies.

Changes in the pack include Dragons hooker Lloyd Burns winning his first Wales start and Luke Charteris returning to the second row.

Former British and Irish Lion Adam Jones remains injured, leaving the front row with second-choice props Craig Mitchell and Paul James, backed by retained second row Alun Wyn Jones and a settling back row consisting of captain Sam Warburton, Dan Lydiate and Toby Faletu.

The half-back pairing of Mike Phillips and Rhys Priestland returns, backed by wingers Shane Williams and George North and outside-centre Jamie Roberts.

"We need the win this weekend - it's as simple as that," Gatland commented. "We've told the players that, for us to be regarded as contenders at the Rugby World Cup we need to beat England at home this weekend, to send out that message to everyone that we are contenders.

"We have retained the majority of the side who travelled to London last week and told them that we want more of the same. There are one or two players we have brought in to have a look at but the reason we have deliberately not made wholesale changes is that we need to win this game and we believe these are the players who can do that."

Wales squad: James Hook, George North, Jamie Roberts, Gavin Henson, Shane Williams; Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips; Paul James, Lloyd Burns, Craig Mitchell, Luke Charteris, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton (Captain), Toby Faletau.

Replacements: Huw Bennett, Ryan Bevington, Josh Turnbull, Justin Tipuric, Tavis Knoyle, Scott Williams, Aled Brew.

Matthew Rees
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