Wales vs. England: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and 2015 Six Nations Preview

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2015

CARDIFF, WALES - JANUARY 20:  Wales head coach Warren Gatland faces the media at the Wales RBS Six Nations Squad Announcement at the Vale Hotel on January 20, 2015 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Wales and England face off on Friday in what should be a Six Nations opener for the ages, a fixture that will have a heavy say in who emerges as this year's champion.

The Millennium Stadium clash will also serve as a warm-up for their meeting at this year's Rugby World Cup, where both teams find themselves locked in Group A, although this is a high-profile meeting of its own.

Warren Gatland named his squad early in order to give players time to prepare for the heated tug-of-war, and Welsh fans will hope to see their side lay down a marker on home soil.

Stuart Lancaster's visitors will strive to ensure that isn't the case, and they are looking to build on last year's near miss. Read on for viewing information and a match preview of Friday's fixture.

Date: Friday, February 5

Time: 8:05 p.m. GMT/3:05 p.m. ET

Live Stream: BBC Sport website (UK), beIN Sports Play (US)

TV Info: BBC One (UK), beIN Sports 12 (US)

England Fighting Demons of 2013

Some wounds take a long time to heal, and while it's now been two years since England's record 30-3 defeat at the Millennium Stadium, one can bet a raft of their players are still smarting from the embarrassment.

Even Wales may not have expected such a resounding victory in the 2013 Six Nations encounter, but the English will be all the more wary of ensuring they avoid the same kind of hurt this time around.

BAGSHOT, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02:  Chris Robshaw, the England captain, talks to the press during the England media session held at Pennyhill Park on February 2, 2015 in Bagshot, England.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
David Rogers/Getty Images

Two second-half Alex Cuthbert tries in quick succession decided that year's rout, where England were left chasing a considerable deficit before they knew what hit them.

A couple of years on and Lancaster's men will look to keep things tighter across the 80 minutes, a pursuit in which captain Chris Robshaw will be crucial. Speaking on the team's targets to avoid a similar tragedy, he told Sky Sports this week:

We are further down the road and have come a long way since that day. We have more experience now. Unfortunately in life you learn from your experiences—the good, the bad and the ugly. That was an ugly afternoon for us, and to have the biggest loss to Wales on your CV is not nice.

But it's about how you bounce back from those days and we didn't dip after that game. Of course it was a bad time for us, but we didn't dip. We continued to evolve and in the next campaign we built again. As a squad, every time we meet up, we seem to be better than we were before. Guys understand the structures better, the lineout moves, the plays, the patterns.

Even when faced by adversity and different types of pressure, because we've been through that, we've got that experience and understanding of each other.

Robshaw speaks of a learning curve and the ability to improve after disappointments, but it's been much the same story for England in recent yearsconsistently speaking of the future when results are needed right now.

Try as Lancaster might, this England team seems ever condemned to sitting just shy of their peak, whether it be due to key injuries or there simply being better teams present.

In 2015 of all years—a year in which they host the Rugby World Cup—fans will pray that plight ends and the team realises its potential at the most opportune moment, but to do so Wales must be toppled.

Not only must Robshaw lead England to avoid the embarrassment of 2013, but also a statement must be sent out in their Six Nations start; a testament to the notion that their best is yet to come.

Stuart Lancaster's Injury List Creates Unexpected Opportunity

In the build-up to this year's Six Nations, Lancaster has been a most unfortunate coach in terms of the injuries afflicting his squad selection.

First came the news that an ongoing groin injury will see centre star Manu Tuilagi miss out on international inclusion once again. Since then, the likes of Owen Farrell, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Ben Morgan, Geoff Parling, Ben Foden and others have also suffered blows.

Paul Williams of Rugby World illustrated just how unlucky Lancaster has been in terms of the growing absentee list, suggesting voodoo as the only possible explanation of such horrific absences:

Paul Williams @thepaulwilliams

Somewhere, in either Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Italy or France, someone is angrily stabbing pins into dolls of the England squad #injuries

What's more, Rucktales hinted at Gatland's decision to name his squad so early as a mind game of his own, a method of demonstrating just how strong his squad remains by comparison:

Rucktales @Rucktales

Don't think Gatland would have named his team 48 hours early had England not had the injuries or indecision. Pouncing on a weakness.

However, in place of those missing, new stars can emerge. Nick Easter's sterling form at Harlequins has seen him brought back into the fold following an international exodus, while Dan Cole is finally back in the frame after a lengthy injury absence.

BBC Sport announced David Wilson as the latest injury suffered on Tuesday, but Christopher Jones of BBC Radio 5 live is right in suggesting there remains a great sense of depth in England's ranks:

Chris Jones BBC @chjones9

England have been very unlucky with recent injuries, but isn't all bad when Corbisiero and Care can't make the 23.

The problem for Lancaster is whether there's enough genuine stars among his crop. Granted, plenty of those named have showcased great form in the Premiership and in Europe, but many sit just below that elite upper echelon.

Good-but-not-great won't be enough to win the Six Nations and it most certainly won't haul in a World Cup title on home soil. That being said, the opportunity is there for underlying stars to strut their talents on Friday in the hopes of establishing a new order.


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