We look ahead to Saturday’s match at Twickenham in Round 2 of the 2024 Guinness Men’s Six Nations with our England vs Wales prediction and preview.

Looking at the results from Round 1 of this year’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations, you could be forgiven for thinking that England and Wales were involved in similarly tight matches last weekend, however there was a stark contrast in the nature of their opening fixtures.

After going into the break trailing by three on the scoreboard, England scored 13 unanswered points during the second half to take a fairly comfortable lead in Rome, before an Italian try on the full-time whistle saw the Azzurri claim a late losing bonus point.

Later that afternoon in Cardiff, Wales endured the proverbial game of two halves against Scotland. A miserable first 40 saw them go into the break 20-0 down and things would get worse early in the second half, as Scotland added another seven points to their tally within a few minutes of the restart. However, the remaining 35 minutes was almost all Wales, as they came roaring back to within a point of Scotland. Unfortunately for Warren Gatland’s men it wasn’t quite enough, Wales ending both halves in a state of despair, but for entirely different reasons.

Wales’ second half gives cause for optimism, while there is a cautious positivity around England’s performance against Italy. Wales have struggled at Twickenham in recent years, losing their last five games in West London in the Six Nations – however the most recent four matches in that run were decided by fewer than seven points and it could be another tight affair in 2024.


Whilst there wasn’t a deluge of tries, there are signs that England’s attack is starting to click – they beat the most defenders of any team in the opening round of this year’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations, while they moved the ball beyond 2nd receiver more often than any other nation, doing so on 12% of their attacking phases. They also committed three or more tacklers on 13% of their carries, the best rate of any nation, suggesting that they’re creating gaps elsewhere, if they can just exploit them…

Similar could be said of Wales, as they beat the joint second most defenders (20, alongside Ireland and France) and also made a joint round-high six line breaks (level with Italy and Ireland).

Wales, despite being cut apart effortlessly for Scotland’s three tries, actually defended reasonably well for large parts of their opening fixture and that was reflected in the fact that they recorded the best tackle success rate of any team last weekend (92%).


While Wales recorded the best tackle success rate last weekend, England recorded the lowest (85%). Both sides may need to work on their scramble defence though, 26% of England’s missed tackles led to a try being scored, with Wales recording a 23% rate – no other nation saw more than 15% of their missed tackles lead directly to a try.

Wales, despite beating a lot of defenders overall, will be concerned about how wasteful they were in attack, particularly in the first half in which they failed to register a single point.

Our expected points (xP) model has the capacity to show just how wasteful they were against Scotland. Taking into account the areas in which Wales started each of their possessions from and including other historical and granular data, our model suggested that Wales ‘should’ have put roughly 18 points on the scoreboard.

However, they turned possession over easily, particularly at the lineout. Usually a good source of tries – 44% of tries in the 2023 Six Nations originated from lineouts, including 55% of Wales’ tries – Gatland’s side squandered four lineouts in the Scottish half, the most lineouts lost by any team in the opposition half in a Six Nations game since 2021 (Scotland, 4 vs Ireland).

Although they made a vast improvement in the second half, Wales still underperformed their xP by almost seven points overall, the worst showing from any team in Round 1.

Wales xP

Standout Players

Ethan Roots capped off a fine debut by being selected as the man of the match, with the Opta Index also agreeing that he was England’s best player last weekend.

Roots crashed his way over the gainline from seven of his nine carries, of the 51 players to run with the ball on more than five occasions in Round 1, his 78% gainline success rate was bettered by just two players – Scotland’s Duhan van der Merwe (90%) and another man of the match, Ireland’s Joe McCarthy (89%).

The Exeter flanker did plenty of the ‘unseen’ work too and was one of just three players to hit 20+ attacking rucks and 10+ defensive rucks, alongside Caelan Doris and Wales’ Tommy Reffell.

Reffell was a start performer for Wales in the opening round of this year’s Six Nations, particularly at the breakdown, ranking in the top five players for both attacking rucks hit (27, 5th) and defensive rucks hit (12, 2nd) and he was rewarded for his persistence in attacking the opposition ruck, winning three turnovers for Wales – no other player won more than one across the opening round of fixtures.

George North returns to the fold for Wales’ trip across the Severn and in the process will make his 50th appearance in the Six Nations, becoming the fourth Welsh player to reach that tally in the Championship since 2000 (also Stephen Jones, Gethin Jenkins and Alun Wyn Jones).

After missing the Scotland match due to injury he’ll be looking to make an impact in Wales’ remaining four games and may well have Brian O’Driscoll’s Six Nations try scoring record in his sights (23, O’Driscoll – 26). It’s unlikely that he’ll tie BOD’s record in this match – he’s scored just once against England in the Six Nations, his fewest against any team – but he will certainly add some punch to the midfield even if he doesn’t manage to sneak across the whitewash.

England vs Wales Prediction

England defeated Wales 20-10 in the 2023 Six Nations, and the Opta supercomputer expects another victory for the English this weekend at Twickenham.

England are being given a 77.0% chance of success, compared to Wales’ 22.1% win prediction, with the predicted score England 30-17 Wales.

England vs Wales Prediction Six Nations

England vs Wales Lineups

England have named an unchanged starting XV in a men’s test match for just the 2nd time since 2016, with the only other instance coming in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.

England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Henry Arundell, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Ollie Lawrence, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Jack van Poortvliet; 1 Joe Marler, 2 Jamie George, 3 Will Stuart, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 George Martin, 6 Courtney Lawes, 7 Ben Earl, 8 Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: 16 Theo Dan, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Jonny Hill, 20 Jack Willis, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 George Ford, 23 Max Malins.

Warren Gatland has made wholesale changes to his side. George North, Ioan Lloyd and Tomos Williams all start in the backs whilst the front row is completely new and Alex Mann earns a first test start – he was one of our Six Nations players to watch in 2024.

Wales: 15 Cameron Winnett, 14 Josh Adams, 13 George North, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Ioan Lloyd, 9 Tomos Williams; 1 Gareth Thomas, 2 Elliot Dee, 3 Keiron Assiratti, 4 Dafydd Jenkins (c), 5 Adam Beard, 6 Alex Mann, 7 Tommy Reffell, 8 Aaron Wainwright.

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.

Other Six Nations Round 2 Fixtures:

Scotland vs France, Murrayfield Stadium – Saturday 10 February, 14:15 GMT

Ireland vs Italy, Aviva Stadium – Sunday 11 February, 15:00 GMT

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