Eddie Jones is ready to make changes for the next step in England’s RBS 6 Nations title defence as he assesses the damage incurred during an enthralling 21-16 victory.
Elliot Daly sprinted over with five minutes of a breathtaking showdown in Cardiff remaining to seize a 16th consecutive triumph that leaves the champions only two wins short of New Zealand’s world record.
Italy’s visit to Twickenham in a fortnight is the next assignment and Jones has indicated that for the first time in his England reign he will experiment with his “battered and bruised” team.
“We’ll look at playing a different sort of side. I’ve got some ideas of how we want to play against Italy, we will change it up a bit,” the Australian said.
“Courtney Lawes (pictured) is like a human ice pack. He has ice all over him after that many tackles and carries. Joe Launchbury as well. We’re battered and bruised. Our medical team is going to be very busy.
“It looks like we might have Anthony Watson coming back which is fantastic. We’re slowly, slowly getting a little bit stronger. Any changes will not be because I’m unhappy with the guys who played against Wales, but because I want to keep developing the team.”
Seven days after presiding over the worst display of his stewardship when France departed Twickenham as undeserving losers, Jones was celebrating the most captivating of his 15 wins. Once Ben Youngs and Liam Williams had exchanged high-quality tries in the first half, a Dan Biggar-inspired Wales led 16-11 and then 16-14 before they instigated their own downfall. Instead of kicking for touch after winning a turnover, Jonathan Davies booted the ball into the arms of George Ford and England pounced.
Ford was patrolling alongside Owen Farrell and the playmakers combined to give Daly sight of the whitewash, an injection of gas sweeping the Wasps wing around Alex Cuthbert and over.
It was Daly’s fourth start in nine caps and the super-quick 24-year-old has emerged as a key member of the squad. “I just tried to pin my ears back and go for the corner and luckily I snuck in,” Daly said.