There were no great surprises in the England squad announced by Eddie Jones this morning – the likelihood of his changes had been leaked to the press earlier in the week.
The main change is in the back row where Jack Clifford comes in for Tom Wood who drops to the bench after missing training until yesterday.
The back row has only a handful of caps between them –
This is in direct contrast to the experience of Justin Tipuric and Sam Warburton – if Taulupe Faletau had started instead of being on the bench the difference in the number of caps would have been enormous!
The other change is another Jack – Nowell taking the place of Johnny May.
Eddie Jones has dismissed the Principality as being just another ground and suggested that the atmosphere isn’t a factor. Like Sam Warburton’s suggestion that England are comparable to the All Blacks, I’m not sure Eddie actually believes that the stadium isn’t an intimidating atmosphere.
I have experience of being in Cardiff for England games – in the 70s and 80s Askeans played Penarth on the morning of the internationals and then went to the game at Cardiff Arms Park in the afternoon – it was always pretty intimidating (and we were only on the terraces).
I have also been to the Millennium/Principality a number of times – including when Gavin Henson welcomed Matthew Tait to the stadium much to the delight of the crowd.
It’s not quite how I imagine the Coliseum, but it’s not far short!