Le Pays De France - Faletau returns as Wales drop Rees-Zammit for England clash

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Faletau returns as Wales drop Rees-Zammit for England clash
Faletau returns as Wales drop Rees-Zammit for England clash

Faletau returns as Wales drop Rees-Zammit for England clash

Wales coach Wayne Pivac has recalled No 8 Taulupe Faletau and dropped wing Louis Rees-Zammit from his side for Saturday's Six Nations match against England at Twickenham.

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Faletau is set to make his first Wales appearance in 11 months following a long-term ankle injury after playing in his English club Bath's last two Premiership matches against Wasps and Leicester.

He returns in a reshaped back-row, with Ross Moriarty switching to blindside flanker and Taine Basham at openside.

Jac Morgan, who made his Test debut in a 20-17 win over Scotland in Cardiff, is on the bench.

Rees-Zammit has been replaced by the fit-again Josh Adams, with Alex Cuthbert retained on the other wing and set to win his 50th cap.

Both reigning champions Wales and England have one win and one defeat so far in this season's Six Nations.

Players at English clubs are released back to those teams if they are not included in a Wales match-day 23, so Gloucester flyer Rees-Zammit will be available for the Premiership match with Leicester on Saturday.

The 21-year-old Rees-Zammit is one of the most exciting young players in Europe.

He scored four tries during last season's Six Nations and was selected for the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa but Pivac suggested Thursday that Rees-Zammit might be suffering from "niggly injuries".

Cuthbert shone against Scotland, while Adams, who missed that match with a calf muscle problem, has scored an impressive 17 tries in 36 Tests.

Faletau's most recent Wales appearance was against France in the final game of last season's Six Nations.

"We are very pleased to have the experienced Toby (Taulupe) Faletau back," said Pivac. "He has trained well during the week and got 80 minutes under his belt last week."

Turning to his wing choices, the New Zealander added: "I am really pleased for Alex Cuthbert to get 50 Tests for his country. It is a massive achievement.

"And it is also great to have Josh Adams back from injury. They are two good players.

"That means Louis Rees-Zammit is the unfortunate one this week that misses out"

Wales have not beaten England in the Six Nations at Twickenham since 2012, and both teams head into this weekend's match needing a victory to maintain realistic title ambitions after one win and one defeat apiece from their opening two matches.

"They will be tough opposition -- they always are -- and both teams are still in this competition, so there is a lot at stake," Pivac said.

Wales team to play England (15-1)

Liam Williams; Alex Cuthbert, Owen Watkin, Nick Tompkins, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar (capt), Tomos Williams; Taulupe Faletau, Taine Basham, Ross Moriarty; Adam Beard, Will Rowlands; Tomas Francis, Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones

Replacements: Dewi Lake, Gareth Thomas, Leon Brown, Seb Davies, Jac Morgan, Kieran Hardy, Gareth Anscombe, Jonathan Davies

Coach: Wayne Pivac (NZL)