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Key player returns as Gatland rings the changes for England clash

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: George North was recalled by Wales as Warren Gatland made wholesale changes to his side for Saturday’s Six Nations match against England at Twickenham.

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Veteran coach Gatland responded to Wales’ agonising 26-27 tournament-opening loss to Scotland in Cardiff by making seven changes to his starting XV in a matchday 23 announced Wednesday.

North, 31, returns from injury to replace Owen Watkin with the powerhouse centre lining up alongside Nick Tompkins in midfield.

Meanwhile flyhalf Sam Costelow, injured in the first half of last Saturday’s match at home to Scotland, is replaced by Ioan Lloyd, with Tomos Williams chosen instead of Gareth Davies at scrumhalf.

Wales were 0-27 down against Scotland before nearly snatching an astounding victory at the Millennium Stadium.

They initially struggled up front, with Gatland selecting a new front row of Gareth Thomas, Elliot Dee and Keiron Assiratti to face England.

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Alex Mann has been handed a first Wales start after coming off the bench to score a try against England, with the flank taking over from the injured James Botham.

England, who started the Championship with a narrow win away to Italy, are due to name their side on Thursday.

Wales: 15 Cameron Winnett, 14 Josh Adams, 13 George North, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Ioan Lloyd, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 Alex Mann, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Dafydd Jenkins (captain), 3 Keiron Assiratti, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Archie Griffin, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Taine Basham, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Cai Evans, 23 Mason Grady.

Date: Saturday, February 10
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
Kick-off: 16.45 (16.45 GMT)
Referee: James Doleman (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Hollie Davidson (Scotland)
TMO: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)

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