Wales Captain Gareth Thomas said: "They are a formidable side, and we respect them, they also respect us and it has the makings of a fantastic match. Andy Robinson's new England are hoping to build on the promise of their opening displays under the coach."
Despite being without half a dozen injured players, the world champions have strength in depth and are intent on regaining the RBS Six Nations crown. As ever, the battle up front will determine the shape of the game, but England have a significantly heavier pack, and man-of-the-moment, tight-head prop Julian White in destructive form.
Wales have brought in lock Robert Sidoli to help beef up the home pack, while Ben Kay's return to the second row gives England another ball-carrier and a potent line-out operator. If the home side can gain parity at the set-pieces and forward exchanges, they have the backs to set the Millennium Stadium alight.
Ruddock has appealed to Wales's supporters, "the best in the world", to help recreate the intense atmosphere his side enjoyed at the Millennium Stadium during the Lloyds TSB Autumn Series and he believes he has picked a team to ensure the fans will be in good voice. Williams, whose international and British Lions experience makes him a key figure, passed a fitness test on a neck injury in time to be selected in the back row in place of vice-captain Colin Charvis, who was ruled out last week with ligament damage to his foot.
"I'm delighted to announce a very strong team in my first RBS Six Nations Championship game," said Ruddock. "We are all looking forward to playing in front of a full house at the Millennium Stadium and we are hoping for the same sort of incredible support that we saw from the Welsh public during the autumn. Welsh supporters are the best in the world, and when they get behind the team and start singing at the top of their voices it really does lift the players."
Tom Shanklin, who featured at both wing and centre for Ruddock during the autumn, starts at outside-centre after a neck injury ruled out the other main contender for that position Sonny Parker. Shane Williams and Hal Luscombe retain their places on the wings from the 98-0 victory over Japan on 26th November 2004.
In the front row, Mefin Davies stays at hooker, with the experienced Robin McBryde returning from injury to take up a place on the bench. Props Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins partner Davies with Robert Sidoli's recent run of form earning him the nod alongside Brent Cockbain to complete the front five.
Williams is joined by Dafydd Jones and Michael Owen in the back row and Stephen Jones and Dwayne Peel continue their established half-back partnership. Gavin Henson plays at inside centre alongside Shanklin and captain Gareth Thomas is retained at full-back.
"The rationale behind selection is as follows," said Ruddock. "Firstly, we believe this is the best available team with a great blend of skill, experience and, for the first time in a while, an element of continuity and stability in selection. We believe this team, if it plays to its potential, is good enough to counter the obvious strengths of the England side and achieve a victory.
"The World Champions look very strong with a significant balance of youth and experience in the side. Much has been said about their own injury problems, but one has to say that any England team will be incredibly formidable."
The Coach admits that this team selection was a particularly difficult one, but says that's a welcome problem.
"Ultimately we were faced with a number of welcome selection headaches which augers well for the future as the squad continues to grow and develop," he added. "Martyn comes into the side as a more than able replacement for Colin, his experience as a British Lion and forty-nine caps for Wales will be important. His availability is a huge boost because it retains the blend of what we wanted in the team, in terms of an experienced open side who can provide a quality link between backs and forwards as we attempt to continue development of a high tempo game.
"It's obviously a blow to lose Sonny Parker with the neck problem which has ruled him out of the last few Ospreys matches, but Tom's also a more than able replacement who was already in contention to start.
"Mefin deserves to retain his place at hooker on the back of his performances and excellent form at international level in the Autumn and for Gloucester in the English premiership. Rob Sidoli has very much played his way back into the team due his performances for the Blues in recent months.
"I would like to personally thank Wales's regional sides for their assistance in our preparation by working closely with the National Management in order to maximise our preparation time."
Prop John Japp could win his first Wales cap if used from the bench where he is joined by McBryde, Jonathan Thomas, Ryan Jones, Gareth Cooper, Ceri Sweeney and a fit again Kevin Morgan.