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Steve Borthwick: England players up for Wales clash

Steve Borthwick insists the general sense of apathy over Sunday's Test against Wales at Twickenham is not shared by the England camp.

The fixture replaces the traditional end-of-season non-cap international against the Barbarians and is being staged to assist the Rugby Football Union in compensating Aviva Premiership clubs for the disruption caused by last autumn's World Cup.

England will select their strongest available team for the last of three Twickenham matches in eight months against Warren Gatland's men, but are missing players from league finalists Saracens and Exeter, who meet at the same venue 24 hours earlier.

The following day the Grand Slam winners head to Australia for a three-Test series against the Wallabies and Wales depart for New Zealand, before a 'season' that effectively started in September 2014 because of the World Cup finally comes to a close.

Borthwick insists England should expect to win on Sunday despite the unavailability of stars such as Billy Vunipola, Maro Itoje and Jack Nowell in front of what is expected to be a full house.

"From our perspective this is a Test match. It feels like a huge and exciting Test match," the forwards coach said.

"At this point we've sold 78,000 tickets so it's going to be a sell out or very close to a sell out.

"The supporters are excited about it and it's a brilliant opportunity to be playing this game in May in what should be a good game.

"We've prepared the best we can and we want to win as many matches as we can."


From Belfast Telegraph