England Six Nations team: Steve Borthwick names unchanged XV to face Wales

In charge: Steve Borthwick (Getty Images)
In charge: Steve Borthwick (Getty Images)

England will field an unchanged team for the first time since the 2019 World Cup Final for Saturday’s Six Nations clash with Wales at Twickenham.

Head coach Steve Borthwick has kept faith with the starting XV that edged England to a 27-24 win over Italy in Rome last weekend.

Fraser Dingwall retains his No12 shirt to win his second cap, with England hoping he can build on his Test debut at the Stadio Olimpico.

Ethan Roots will also look to build on his maiden Test outing, which ended with a man-of-the-match award for the bullish Exeter flanker.

Ellis Genge passed a fitness test on Thursday morning, shaking off his foot injury to take a seat on the bench. England have also kept Immanuel Feyi-Waboso on the bench, with the Exeter wing due to go up against his birth nation on Saturday.

Ellis Genge passed a fitness test on Thursday morning (Getty Images)
Ellis Genge passed a fitness test on Thursday morning (Getty Images)

Bristol prop Genge was a late withdrawal from last weekend’s Italy clash, but has now recovered, and steps onto the bench at Beno Obano’s expense.

Joe Marler will start again at loose-head prop, having picked up where he left off from a fine showing at the autumn's World Cup. England will also be looking for tight-head prop

Will Stuart will raise his Test career to the next level across this Six Nations and beyond. The 27-year-old will start again alongside Marler and captain Jamie George in the front row, and has a big chance now to carve out a significant Test-match niche with England.

Alex Mitchell and George Ford will again pilot the team from the half-backs, with England determined that their new, more expansive gameplan can flourish in the international arena.

Full-back Freddie Steward numbers among those keen to see England make good on those vows to add extra weapons to their armoury.

The Leicester star admitted that England did not offer a balanced enough attacking threat at the World Cup, with coaches and players all fixed on expanding the national team's approach.

Will Stuart in training on Monday (PA)
Will Stuart in training on Monday (PA)

"We were probably guilty early doors of being too one dimensional in terms of teams knowing what we were going to do," said Steward. "There's the mentality side of it, in terms of being braver by using our attacking play further from the line and trying to challenge the opposition, to give them something to think about.

“But hopefully by evolving the attack it will ask a few more questions of the opposition. The more time we've had together, the more that helps.”

England have been candid about their desire to build stronger connections with their fans, in a move led by new captain George. The Saracens hooker wants to deliver a more open England set-up, while also leading a team that offers more excitement to supporters.

Steward is fully on board with those plans, but also insisted England are not about to lose sight of the ultimate aim, of producing winning rugby.

“For us as players, we want to play winning rugby; whatever style that is, we want to win Test matches, we want to win tournaments and have successful campaigns,” said Steward.

“If you bring that success it's then hard to argue perhaps what you're watching is great, effective, boring – whatever you want to say. At the end of the day we want to win and whatever rugby that is, once it starts bringing success and results people will get on board with it.”

England team to face Wales in Six Nations 2024

Starting XV: F Steward; T Freeman, H Slade, F Dingwall, E Daly; G Ford, A Mitchell; J Marler, J George (c), W Stuart; M Itoje, O Chessum; E Roots, S Underhill, B Earl.

Replacements: T Dan, E Genge, D Cole, A Coles, C Cunningham-South, D Care, F Smith, I Feyi-Waboso.