Dazzling runner and entertainer Joseph will miss the Pool A clash because of injury, with England head coach Stuart Lancaster naming rugby union rookie Sam Burgess and Brad Barritt as his midfield pairing.
“I think both Jamie and Sam Burgess are 115kg – I’m a bit smaller than that!”
Lancaster’s decision to drop Ford has been heavily criticised, with ex-Scotland captain Gavin Hastings saying the hosts have “panicked” while Toby Flood, who won 60 caps for England from 2006 to 2013, believes the 22-year-old has every right to feel “pretty devastated”. I understand the consequences.
“Clearly the selection has heightened it. If we win the game it will be judged a success. According to World Rugby, we’ve broken the spirit of the rules, so I don’t know what that means”, said Gatland.
The fallout from the decision to relegate his playmaker in favour of Owen Farrell after just one World Cup outing has been considerable.
“We select it on a week by week basis, assess the performance and decide what’s best to play Wales”.
England legend Jonny Wilkinson spoke a fortnight ago of the vital importance of building up and protecting the “aura” of your fly-half through a tournament.
But even though Wales will go to Twickenham shorn of first choice scrum half Rhys Webb, fullback Leigh Halfpenny and centre Jonathan Davies, and with doubts over key personnel inlcuding replacement fullback Liam Williams and prop Samson Lee, the England coach appears to have adapted his team to counter Wales’s physicality. “They have risen considerably with this selection”, says the paper.
“We have got to make sure that we’ve got to be able to impose ourselves on them as well”. That is 100 per cent what happened this time.
Williams, who has more than four years of global experience with Roberts, had acknowledged the England midfield would pose a big physical challenge but said that the dancing feet of Joseph would have posed a greater threat.
People searching for added meaning should stop looking. They will come up against some of the most physically intimidating members of the Welsh team, with weight and power a major issue.
“We’ve got to get away from the stereotype of what sort of attacking player Owen Farrell is”.
“We’re at home, we’re playing at Twickenham”. I don’t want to make any bold predictions. I’ll just wait and see on Saturday.
England coach Stuart Lancaster said that the bonus points they earned in their first game is “invaluable” for a team who faces tough challenges ahead, with Australia still to come in their fixture. And during the Six Nations he was the catalyst for what became a very potent Red Rose backline.
As Lancaster acknowledges, the result will be the judge of that.