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Wales head coach Warren Gatland relishing ‘mouth-watering’ England encounter

Wales will head to Twickenham next Saturday to face an England team unbeaten at home since Eddie Jones was appointed head coach.

England captain Dylan Hartley (left) and Wales counterpart Alun Wyn Jones will face off next week
England captain Dylan Hartley (left) and Wales counterpart Alun Wyn Jones will face off next week

Warren Gatland says he hopes “a few people sit up and take a bit of notice” after Wales prepared for an England showdown by smashing Scotland.

England, unbeaten at Twickenham since Eddie Jones took the coaching reins two years ago, will be favourites to win next Saturday’s Six Nations clash.

But the manner of Wales’ bonus point 34-7 triumph against Scotland suggests they mean serious business in targeting a possible first Six Nations title since 2013.

“It is a mouth-watering fixture now because I don’t think people were expecting us to win as comfortably as we did (against Scotland),” Wales head coach Gatland said.

“I hope a few people sit up and take a bit of notice. It will make next week even more exciting.

“We have not been afraid of going there (Twickenham) since I have been involved. We have had some good performances and results and victories against England.

Twickenham Stadium General Views

“It is a great ground, and if you go there with confidence and self-belief, you hope to get something from it.”

Wales were dismissed as 15-1 title outsiders before the tournament started, but those odds were quickly slashed following a four-try shredding of the Scots that saw Gatland’s team display a blistering all-court game.

“I knew we were in a good place and knew we had been training well,” he added. “People had written us off.

“The team were disappointed with where we had finished last year (fifth), but you look at the 100-minute game in Paris and the lead Wales had (in Cardiff) against England – turn those two results around and it completely changes the table.

“This group of guys always work hard when they come in, and we were quietly confident we could put on a performance, given the way we had been training.”

Wales will be back in camp on Monday, with Gatland’s selection options set to be enhanced by the availability after injury of wings George North, Liam Willams and Hallam Amos.

He is due to announce his team 24 hours later, while Wales also have an extra day’s preparation than their next opponents, given that England played Italy in Rome on Sunday.

“Potentially it (extra day) makes a big difference,” Gatland said.

“The travel day makes it tough, and England will have to monitor what they do next week. For us, it is about recovery and a rest day (on Sunday) and then focusing on work on Monday.

“I went back to New Zealand over Christmas and spoke to (All Blacks selector) Grant Fox. He said the hardest game they (New Zealand) had on the (November) tour was against Wales, and it was the best they played.

“I came away from that conversation feeling that we were not as far away as people thought we were.”

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