By Jonathan Davies

2015 - the year of Rugby in the UK

George North and Richard Hibbard return to the Wales team to face England in the Six Nations opener at the Millennium Stadium on Friday.

Head coach Warren Gatland resisted calls to start Liam Williams, who has been in terrific form for the Scarlets, on the wing ahead of North.

Richard Hibbard is the only other change from the team that beat South Africa 12-6 in the Autumn Internationals.

Captain Sam Warburton will win his 50th cap in a settled back row, joining Dan Lydiate and Taulupe Faletau.

Gatland admitted that North's international form hasn't been brilliant recently, but is hoping for a big game on Friday.

"We don't think he's played that well in the Welsh jersey in the last few games," Gatland said.

"He's had a lot of pressure and expectation on him to perform but one of the things he has done for Wales is that he's scored tries and he continues to do that for his club as well.

"He does have that X Factor and we're looking for a big performance from him on Friday night.

"If he gets lots of touches and his work-rate's high he will create something and it's what we're looking for from him."

Wales were due to announce their squad on Wednesday, but brought it forward to Monday to "give the players the best possible chance of preparation".

Starting 15

Backs Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon); Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Jonathan Davies (ASM Clermont Auvergne), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), George North (Northampton Saints); Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Webb (Ospreys).

Forwards Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Richard Hibbard (Gloucester), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, Capt), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Paul James (Bath Rugby), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Racing Metro), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Liam Williams (Scarlets).

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness