London - Wales
and England will put their Six Nations Grand Slam ambitions on the line
when they meet at Cardiff's Principality Stadium on Saturday.
The only unbeaten teams in the tournament, Wales and England have won their opening two matches.
And if anyone needed reminding of what this fixture means to Welsh
fans, there was a clear message on Saturday's front page of the Western
Mail, Wales' national newspaper.
It carried photographs of Wales wins over England at the end of every decade from 1949 until 2009.
"Can you see the pattern? 2019: Time To Do It Again!" proclaimed the banner headline.
It would have come as no surprise to Eddie Jones, with the England
coach insisting earlier this week: "They (Wales) have been saying
they're ready to rip off heads.
"So they're full of emotions and they'll bring that to the field and we know Wales teams at home want to come out hard."
But Jones insisted it was vital England kept their composure, the
Australian adding: "Just be calm but at the same time tough and have a
real steel about us."
Wales will go above third-placed England in the world rankings, with a win but Jones has loftier ambitions for his side.
"We want to be the world's best team, that's our aim," he said.
"We know we are a while from there but we are moving in the right direction."
Wales are on an 11-match unbeaten run, with victory over the old
enemy required to break their all-time record set from 1907-1910.
Jones, however, has won all four of his matches against Wales since
taking over as England coach after the 2015 World Cup and his side now
sit atop the Six Nations table after bonus-point victories over both
Ireland, the reigning champions, and France.
Wing Jack Nowell and prop Ben Moon replace the injured Chris Ashton
and prop Mako Vunipola respectively in the only two changes to the
England starting side that thrashed Les Bleus 44-8 last time out.
"It's a massive challenge playing against an England team that is
playing really well and with a lot of confidence and we've got to make
it difficult for them," said Warren Gatland, in his final Six Nations
campaign as Wales coach before he stands down after this year's World
Cup in Japan.
Gatland has made the bold decision to select fellow native New
Zealander Gareth Anscombe over the benched Dan Biggar at flyhalf.
Anscombe, the son of a Cardiff-born mother, is seen as the more
attacking player, while Biggar, is viewed as the superior defensive
stand-off and goalkicker.
The weekend's action starts with Scotland looking to end their 20-year wait for a win in Paris.
Scotland will be without several injured players, including flyhalf
Finn Russell who plays club rugby for Paris-based Racing 92.
France, yet to win in this season's Championship, have lost 10 of
their 13 matches since Jacques Brunel took over as coach in December
France captain Guilhem Guirado said playing Scotland was a chance to
"save our honour because we were given a lesson two weeks ago (by
"There will definitely be a revolt compared to our last match," Guirado added.
Brunel has ditched experienced Clermont halfbacks Morgan Parra and
Camille Lopez in favour of the novice Toulouse duo of Antoine Dupont and
But Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw, himself now at Clermont, warned his men to expect a French backlash.
"They're a very dangerous team, they're hurting from what has been
said in the media, we're expecting them to come out all guns blazing,"
said the scrumhalf.
Italy will try to end a woeful sequence of 19 successive defeats in
the Six Nations against all opponents when they face Ireland in Rome on
Sergio Parisse, Italy's long-serving captain, has been sidelined with
suspected concussion playing for club side Stade Francais and Azzurri
coach Conor O'Shea, the former Ireland fullback, has made four changes
to his side in total.
Ireland counterpart Joe Schmidt may have rested captain Rory Best and
given a first Six Nations start to 32-year-old hooker Sean Cronin, but
he has retained a back division featuring flyhalf Jonathan Sexton, the
current world player of the year.