Watson starts for England against Wales in Six Nations

Anthony Watson is set for his first start for England since 2021 after being named on the wing to face Wales in Saturday's Six Nations clash in Cardiff.

Watson has replaced the injured Ollie Hassell-Collins in the only change to the starting XV that defeated Italy 31-14 at Twickenham a fortnight ago.

Leicester flyer Watson last started for England against Ireland in a March 2021 Six Nations clash in Dublin.

Watson, who turns 29 on Sunday, spent nearly a year on the sidelines with a knee injury.

"I see Anthony's passion to play for England is mirrored across the whole squad," England coach Steve Borthwick said after naming his match-day 23 on Thursday.

"I think this team is a great blend and I think it's the right blend of players for this particular Test match."

Experienced forward Courtney Lawes could make his England return at the Principality Stadium after being named on the bench.

The 34-year-old has spent much of this season out of action as a result of concussion and various injuries but could play a role in Cardiff either as a lock or at blindside flanker.

Ben Curry is also on the bench after the back-row's twin brother, Tom, was ruled out with an unspecified leg injury.

England captain Owen Farrell continues to lead the side from fly-half.

Saturday's match was at risk from a threatened Welsh players' strike but an agreement reached with the Welsh Rugby Union means it will go ahead as scheduled.

"Wales v England in Cardiff is one of the iconic rugby fixtures, steeped in history and always full of passion," said Borthwick.

"We know the Principality Stadium crowd will be in full voice and we will have to be at our very best to repeat the success we had in the last round against Italy."

The former England captain, bidding for a second win in three games since replacing Eddie Jones, said: "I am delighted to have welcomed Courtney Lawes back to the squad after injury.

"His quality and experience has contributed to a focused training week, marked by the sort of competition and intensity we expect.

"I could not have asked any more from all the players and there is no doubt that they can't wait to be a part of this special occasion."

England (15-1)

Freddie Steward; Max Malins, Henry Slade, Ollie Lawrence, Anthony Watson; Owen Farrell (capt), Jack van Poortvliet; Alex Dombrandt, Jack Willis, Lewis Ludlam; Ollie Chessum, Maro Itoje; Kyle Sinckler, Jamie George, Ellis Genge

Replacements: Jack Walker, Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes, Ben Curry, Alex Mitchell, Marcus Smith, Henry Arundell

Coach: Steve Borthwick (ENG)