ADAM JONES v JOE MARLER IAN EVANS v GEOFF PARLING JUSTIN TIPURIC v CHRIS ROBSHAW DAN BIGGAR v OWEN FARRELL JONATHAN DAVIES v MANU TUILAGI
Like a tank whirring back into action, Jones has been operating at full blast in recent weeks. After dismantling the Italian pack and sending Scotland into reverse, the Ospreys heavyweight now turns his attention to an English scrum which has a relative novice at loose-head. Marler, who has ditched his pink hairdo, has caught the eye with his dynamism in the loose but the Harlequin has still got some work to do to prove his international scrummaging credentials.
Leicester lock Parling was initially a doubt for this game but has proved his fitness to keep his place in the starting line-up. An intelligent and athletic player, his handling skills make him difficult to beat at line-outs and under the high ball. In Evans, however, he will be confronted with a formidably physical forward. The Osprey came back from a three-month lay-off to go straight into the Welsh team to face Ireland on the opening weekend, and he has been imperious. A tireless grafter, Evans will hurl his 6ft 8in frame around to make life difficult for Parling.
The calls for Tipuric and Sam Warburton to both start have reached deafening levels at times. Tipuric has impressed whenever he has played during the Six Nations, bringing pace, athleticism and an eye for a turnover. While Tipuric is an out-and-out seven, England captain Robshaw is a converted blindside flanker — though one who has excelled in his new role. A leading contender to skipper the Lions, Robshaw tackles ferociously and inspires.
Farrell missed England's win over Italy because of injury, but the Saracens fly-half is fit for a match in which he should thrive. A solid defender, nerveless kicker and calming influence, Farrell is tailor-made for an encounter of this magnitude. After a shaky start against Ireland, Biggar has settled into his role as the man who makes Wales tick and his chip for George North's try in France was arguably the turning point of the campaign.
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There will be few battlegrounds as bruising as the midfield. Tuilagi is capable of steamrolling his way through any Test defence — as the All Blacks discovered in the autumn — so Davies will have to be careful not to be drawn into an arm wrestle. One of Davies's strengths is his pace and ability to beat his man by attacking the outside shoulder and bringing his wingers into play. A powerful player himself and, as the man in charge of Wales's blitz defence, the Scarlet will have his hands full trying to keep Tuilagi quiet.