Warren Gatland: So much at stake in England clash

Warren Gatland: 'It's about winning on that biggest stage.'

Warren Gatland wants rugby to “do the talking” when he sends his Wales team into a World Cup showdown against host nation England tomorrow night.

Wales head coach Gatland readily acknowledges the huge importance of this weekend’s titanic Twickenham encounter as both countries continue their quest for a quarter-final place.

“Our record since I have been involved with Wales is 5-5 (against England), all of which is not bad for a nation the size of Wales against the most powerful and richest union in the world,” Gatland said.

“I am comfortable with that record, and it’s about winning on that biggest stage.

“Let’s hope it is a great game, and afterwards, for whoever wins or loses, I would like both teams to have a beer and chat.

“Let’s hope there is not a controversial decision. Let the rugby do the talking.”

Reflecting on England’s new-look midfield trio of Owen Farrell, Sam Burgess and Brad Barritt, Gatland added: “He (Burgess) is a world-class player.

“They are a quality team, and they could have picked a number of players. We were expecting they would go with the same 10 12 13 (as against Fiji), so that threw us for a few days.

“Sam is similar in size and stature to Jamie Roberts, and Brad Barritt is very experienced and a great defender. They believe that’s the right selection.

“At the moment, I wouldn’t mind the same dilemma to have that quality of choice, as they have some quality players.

“It’s another level (on Saturday). There is so much at stake. For us as a nation, this is the biggest game we’ve had for a long time against England. We have a huge amount of respect for England.”

Hallam Amos, meanwhile, has received a 21st birthday present to savour by being named in the Wales starting line-up for Saturday’s encounter.

Newport Gwent Dragons back Amos, 21 on Thursday, takes over from Alex Cuthbert, who is on the bench, while there are also starts for Exeter tighthead prop Tomas Francis and Wasps lock Bradley Davies.


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