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Courtney Lawes ruled out of England clash with Wales due to chest injury

Duncan Bech, PA England Rugby Correspondent
·2-min read

England have suffered a major setback ahead of Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with Wales after Courtney Lawes was ruled out by a chest injury sustained in training.

Lawes was poised to continue at blindside flanker for the Cardiff showdown only to damage his pectoral muscle during Wednesday afternoon’s customary full-blooded training session.

The Northampton forward’s place in the back row goes to Mark Wilson, who fills the vacancy in the number six jersey after being dropped for the round-two victory over Italy.

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The only other change to the XV that routed the Azzurri at Twickenham is Jamie George returning at hooker in place of Luke Cowan-Dickie.

There are two changes on the bench in the form of Cowan-Dickie’s demotion from the starting line-up and the promotion of Leicester rookie George Martin, who is set to win his first cap.

Martin comes in for Jack Willis who will miss the rest of the season after suffering extensive knee damage against Italy.

Full-back Elliot Daly will get the chance to play his way out of his recent slump in form after given his 50th cap for the showdown at the Principality Stadium, the stage for his brilliant try in 2017.

Wales v England head-to-head (PA Graphics)
Wales v England head-to-head (PA Graphics)

And Daly’s Saracens team-mates Billy Vunipola and Owen Farrell, who are also out of form, continue in the starting XV, with the latter part of an unchanged backline.

“Wales is a really special fixture and rivalry. There is a long history between the two nations and the game means a lot to both countries,” head coach Eddie Jones said.

“We know we’ll be up against a strong Welsh challenge on Saturday, but we’ve worked really hard in training this week and have got a very good team to face it.

“We want to show people what we are capable of, keep building our performances and the best is yet to come from this England team.”