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Elsewhere in the back line James Hook will wear the number 15 jersey, replacing fellow Osprey Lee Byrne who has to settle for a place on the bench.
Shane Williams has overcome a shoulder injury to take his place on the left wing – a rare boost for Gatland considering he takes on England without such stars as Leigh Halfpenny, Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones.
Replacing the injured British and Irish Lions up front is 25-year-old tighthead prop Craig Mitchell – who wins his first start and his fifth cap – and fellow Ospreys star Paul James at loosehead.
Captain Matthew Rees takes his place at hooker to complete the front three ahead of regular second row pairing of Alun Wyn Jones and Bradley Davies.
Blues youngster Sam Warburton joins Dragons blindside Dan Lydiate on the flanks and together with Wasps No. 8 Andy Powell makes up the forwards.
Elsewhere the centre partnership of Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies, which proved successful on the recent summer tour of New Zealand, is restored with halfbacks Mike Phillips and Stephen Jones also retained.
On the bench Rhys Priestland is the only uncapped player – he will be Wales’ 1,079th player if he gets on.
He is joined by a wealth of experience in Sale scrum-half Dwayne Peel, Ospreys duo Ryan Jones and Jonathan Thomas, Blues prop John Yapp, Ospreys hooker Richard Hibbard and the 38-times capped Byrne.
Wales assistant coach Rob Howley said: “This is going to be a battle of inches and not yards and we know that if the pack can dominate like they did in our autumn games we are in with a good chance.
“We did debate selection at fly-half and elsewhere in the backs but we feel we have settled on the right pairing there with the experience they offer.
“Lee Byrne misses out solely through virtue of the fact he has had limited game time after injury and he will offer us some impact from the bench, which is fairly experienced in itself and will undoubtedly be utilised during the evening.
“We are playing England at the home of Welsh rugby at the start of the Rugby World Cup year so we are looking to get ourselves of to a great start and create some momentum and I can’t think of a better place for a Welshman to do that.”
15 – James Hook (Ospreys)
14 – Morgan Stoddart (Scarlets)
13 – Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues)
12 – Jonathan Davies (Scarlets)
11 – Shane Williams (Ospreys)
10 – Stephen Jones (Scarlets)
9 – Michael Phillips (Ospreys)
1 – Paul James (Ospreys)
2 – Matthew Rees (Scarlets)
3 – Craig Mitchell (Ospreys)
4 – Bradley Davies (Cardiff Blues)
5 – Alun Wyn-Jones (Ospreys)
6 – Dan Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons)
7 – Same Warburton (Cardiff Blues)
8 – Andy Powell (London Wasps)
16 – Richard Hibbard (Ospreys)
17 – John Yapp (Cardiff Blues)
18 – Ryan Jones (Ospreys)
19 – Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys)
20 – Dwayne Peel (Sale Sharks)
21 – Rhys Priestland 9Scarlets)
22 – Lee Byrne (Ospreys)