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Richard Wigglesworth: Injuries won't make Wales weaker

Published 21/09/2015

England scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth believes Warren Gatland will have Wales
England scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth believes Warren Gatland will have Wales "revved up" for their trip to Twickenham

Richard Wigglesworth expects Saturday's Twickenham collision with "revved up" old foes Wales will bring out the best in England as they attempt to put one foot in the World Cup quarter-finals.

A 35-11 victory over Fiji secured a bonus-point that could prove decisive in the final reckoning of an epic Pool A that also features Australia and Fiji, but it was a flawed performance that exposed shortcomings at the set-piece and breakdown once more.

England know a substantial improvement will be needed if Wales are to be dispatched, even if Warren Gatland's men have lost star backs Leigh Halfpenny, Jonathan Davies and Rhys Webb to injury for the entire tournament.

"The injuries don't make Wales any weaker. For example, losing Webb was awful, but when you have a player with 99 caps like Mike Phillips to call up, it sharpens them up," Wigglesworth said.

"Wales have had a lot of time together and we know we are going to see the best of them on Saturday, which is hopefully going to bring out the best in us.

"We are under no illusions about how tough it's going to be, but we wouldn't want it any other way.

"Gatland will get his lads revved up but it's up to us to impose ourselves on them."

Wigglesworth is one of several players pushing to start against Wales after impressing off the bench on the opening night and his argument for selection has been strengthened by Ben Youngs' below-par evening at scrum-half.

His Saracens half-back partner Owen Farrell is under consideration, as are number eight Billy Vunipola, centre Sam Burgess and lock Joe Launchbury.

"I feel good and the rest of the bench for the Fiji game feel the same. If you are named on the bench, you are there to make a positive impact," Wigglesworth said.

"Things get made of the bench when it performs well, but we are running on fresh. The lads who start aren't so we've got to make some sort of positive impact.

"Obviously all the lads who aren't in the starting XV are pushing all the time, that's hopefully what's making us into a good squad."

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