Gethin Jenkins to skipper Wales, while Tipuric also returns for title decider against England
PROP Gethin Jenkins is the surprise choice to lead Wales in their Six Nations showdown against England on Saturday.
The 32-year-old Toulon prop has recovered from a calf muscle injury to win his 98th cap. He replaces Paul James in the front-row and takes leadership duties instead of flanker Ryan Jones.
Jones broke a bone in his shoulder during last weekend's victory over Scotland, and he is replaced in the back-row by Justin Tipuric, with Sam Warburton wearing the No.6 shirt.
Wales boss Rob Howley has decided for a second successive game not to reinstall Warburton - last season's Grand Slam skipper - as captain, preferring instead to let him concentrate on his own game.
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Two changes on the bench from Edinburgh see James replacing Ryan Bevington and Scarlets flanker Aaron Shingler drafted in following Tipuric's elevation.
Howley has named an unchanged back division for the fifth game running, with Mike Phillips making his 77th Test match appearance to become Wales's most capped scrum-half, surpassing former Scarlets rival Dwayne Peel.
And the centre partnership of Jonathan Davies and Jamie Roberts make their 14th championship appearance together, passing the previous Wales best held by Ray Gravell and Steve Fenwick.
Howley said: "The players have worked very hard to put themselves in this position for Saturday, with three hard-fought victories on the road.
"Gethin comes back in and will captain the side. His leadership will be invaluable.
"Saturday is a big finale for the tournament, but we have a very experienced squad that has been in this position before and that has played in big games. That will be important, come kick-off."
Meanwhile, Joe Launchbury has passed a late fitness test and will start for England.
The Wasps lock injured his elbow in England's 18-11 win against Italy but he has improved to retain his place in a side that features four changes.
Tom Croft will start at blindside flanker in only his seventh appearance since returning to action after recovering from a broken neck that almost left him paralysed.
Croft has replaced James Haskell, Joe Marler has reclaimed the loose-head prop position from Mako Vunipola and England will start with Owen Farrell and Ben Youngs at half-back.
Farrell missed the game against Italy with a thigh strain but he was passed fit on Monday and returns to the side in place of Toby Flood, with Youngs replacing Danny Care at scrum-half.
WALES: Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, George North, Dan Biggar, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins (capt), Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Ian Evans, Sam Warburton, Toby Faletau Justin Tipuric. Reps: Ken Owens, Paul James, Scott Andrews, Andrew Coombs, Aaron Shingler, Lloyd Williams, James Hook, Scott Williams.
ENGLAND: Andy Goode; Chris Ashton, Manu Tuilagi, Brad Barritt, Mike Brown; Owen Farrell, Ben Youngs; Joe Marler, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Geoff Parling, Tom Croft, Tom Wood, Chris Robshaw (capt). Reps: Dylan Hartley, David Wilson, Mako Vunipola, Courtney Lawes, James Haskell, Danny Care, Toby Flood, Billy Twelvetrees.