Six Nations 2016: Billy Vunipola v Taulupe Faletau will be 'ground-shaking'

By Nick WebbBBC Sport Wales
Billy Vunipola chases Taulupe Faletau during the 2015 Six Nations
Billy Vunipola chases Taulupe Faletau during the 2015 Six Nations Championship
Six Nations: England v Wales
Date: Saturday, 12 March Venue: Twickenham Stadium Kick-off: 16:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C, live radio commentary on Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

The collision between cousins Taulupe Faletau and Billy Vunipola could be a highlight of Wales' Six Nations game with England, says hooker Ken Owens.

The rival number eights are set to face off at Twickenham on 12 March after Vunipola's man-of-the-match show for England against Ireland.

"A lot's been made of Billy's carrying, and Toby's been absolutely phenomenal in defence for us," said Wales' Owens.

"So it'll be an interesting battle that'll get the ground shaking."

Vunipola, 23, made 18 carries for a total gain of 96 metres against Ireland, while Faletau was Wales's top tackler with 20 against France.

Faletau, 25, and the Vunipola brothers, Billy and prop Mako, grew up together in Pontypool before the Vunipola family moved to England.

Taulupe Faletau tackles Mako Vunipola during the 2015 World Cup match between England and Wales
Taulupe Faletau and Mako Vunipola clash during the 2015 Rugby World Cup

"They're both world-class number eights who are both at the top of their game at the moment," added Owens.

Hartley on the edge

The 29-year-old says he won't be out to wind up England captain Dylan Hartley at Twickenham, despite his opponent's poor disciplinary record.

Hartley has totalled more than a year in bans for gouging, biting, butting and swearing at an official - missing the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour and the 2015 World Cup as a result.

But Owens says he won't try to incite anything if they come head-to-head.

"I don't think you ever go on the pitch to try to wind anybody up, you concentrate on your own game. I've played against him once this season (for Scarlets against Northampton); he's definitely a slightly different character but that's the way he plays the game," he said.

Ken Owens
Ken Owens played in Wales' World Cup win over England at Twickenham

"He's right on the edge and that's what makes him the player he is in terms of ball-carrying and being a big tackler."

England 'obvious favourites'

Owens, who has 37 caps but only eight starts to his credit, is trying to claim underdog status for Wales despite their World Cup victory at Twickenham in September.

"They're obviously favourites, aren't they? They're top of the table and we're going to their home patch - a new coach comes in, they get a freshen up and a new environment.

"They've got a more settled side, they're consistent in some of their selections and they've got some good youngsters coming through - some of them quite unknown to us - so we're going to have to be on the money."

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