McConnochie debuts for England in Wales World Cup warm-up clash

McConnochie will start after overcoming hip problem
Jonathan Davies and brother James selected for Wales
Ruaridh McConnochie works out with a medicine ball during an England training session.
Ruaridh McConnochie works out with a medicine ball during an England training session. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Ruaridh McConnochie will make his England debut a week later than hoped for after overcoming a hip problem in time to start against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

The Bath wing and sevens specialist was picked in the team to face the Grand Slam champions at Twickenham last weekend but was among a trio of late withdrawals due to injury.

Anthony Watson has been left out of the matchday 23 after completing his comeback from a 17-month absence due to an Achilles issues, so Joe Cokanasiga lines-up on the opposite wing.

England captain Owen Farrell makes his first appearance of the World Cup warm-up schedule but is confined to a place on the bench, meaning George Ford will lead the team once more.

In total there are three changes to the side that routed Wales 33-19 with Maro Itoje restored to the second row in place of Charlie Ewels, with Joe Launchbury still present. The final adjustment comes in the back row where Courtney Lawes packs down at blindside flanker, forcing Lewis Ludlam to switch to seven.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Davies and his brother James will both start for Wales. Wales head coach Warren Gatland has named openside flanker James alongside back-row colleagues Aaron Wainwright and Ross Moriarty, while Jonathan partners Hadleigh Parkes in midfield. It is the first time the brothers have featured together in the same Wales starting XV.

James Davies replaces Justin Tipuric, while two other changes from last weekend’s 33-19 loss to England see fly-half Dan Biggar in for an injured Gareth Anscombe and lock Jake Ball replacing Adam Beard. They are the first set of brothers to play alongside each other for Wales since Jamie and Nicky Robinson in 2006.

Biggar starts with Anscombe having suffered a World Cup-ending knee ligament injury at Twickenham last weekend. Cardiff Blues forward Josh Navidi, meanwhile, is among the replacements, along with his Blues colleague and fly-half Jarrod Evans.

Gatland said: “This weekend is another opportunity for us to take the field, test ourselves and continue our preparation for Japan. It is a little over five weeks until we kick off our campaign in Toyota [City)] against Georgia, and it is important we are fully prepared and rugby-ready by then.

“We were disappointed to get the loss last weekend, so it is important we step it up on Saturday and put in a big display in front a of a packed Principality Stadium. The squad are looking forward to getting back out there, taking another step towards the World Cup and putting in a big performance.”

Quick guide

Wales v England teams

Wales

L Williams (Saracens); G North (Ospreys), J Davies (Scarlets), H Parkes (Scarlets), J Adams (Cardiff Blues); D Biggar (Northampton), G Davies (Scarlets); N Smith (Ospreys), K Owens (Scarlets), T Francis (Exeter), J Ball (Scarlets), AW Jones (Ospreys, capt), A Wainwright (Dragons), J Davies (Scarlets), R Moriarty (Dragons). 

Replacements: E Dee (Dragons), W Jones (Scarlets), D Lewis (Cardiff Blues), A Shingler (Scarlets), J Navidi (Cardiff Blues), A Davies (Ospreys), J Evans (Cardiff Blues), O Watkin (Ospreys).

England

E Daly (Saracens); R McConnochie (Bath), J Joseph (Bath), P Francis (Northampton), J Cokanasiga (Bath); G Ford (Leicester, capt), W Heinz (Gloucester); E Genge (Leicester), L Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), D Cole (Leicester), J Launchbury (Wasps), M Itoje (Saracens), C Lawes (Northampton), L Ludlam (Northampton), B Vunipola (Saracens). 

Replacements: J George (Saracens), J Marler (Harlequins), K Sinckler (Harlequins), G Kruis (Saracens), J Singleton (Saracens), B Youngs (Leicester), O Farrell (Saracens), M Tuilagi (Leicester).