26 Sep 2015

Welsh plan English smash

2:38 pm on 26 September 2015

Wales will not single out centre Sam Burgess, but will try to "smash" him along with the other England players in Sunday's Rugby World Cup Pool A showdown.

England rugby international Sam Burgess.

England rugby international Sam Burgess. Photo: Photosport

The League convert Burgess was a surprise inclusion in the England side for the game at Twickenham after playing less than two hours of international rugby union.

"We won't be trying to single out Sam Burgess at all," Wales coach Warren Gatland told reporters on Friday.

"We will be going out there to smash him like everyone else."

Burgess finished his league career by leading the South Sydney Rabbitohs to victory in last year's NRL grand final, the showpiece game of Australian rugby league.

"He's got inexperience at rugby union but not at big occasions," Gatland added.

"We're not rubbing our hands together about one player thinking there's a weakness there -- that is not the way we look at it. When you underestimate a player, it comes back to bite you."

Wales kicking coach Neil Jenkins said that England would not be weakened by picking Owen Farrell at flyhalf in place of the more creative George Ford.

"They are both excellent players," said Jenkins, a former Wales flyhalf and prolific goalkicker.

"Obviously George had a very good Six Nations, but Owen played very well against us in 2014 here (Twickenham)."

"He (Farrell) is a good overall player -- excellent in defence. He is a great goalkicker and that might have edged it in his favour. They are lucky to have two quality 10s."

Neil Jenkins

Neil Jenkins Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Wales top Pool A by virtue of a better points difference than England, with Australia close behind in third. The top two nations will progress to the knockout stages, meaning that one of the teams currently ranked, two, three and four in the world will not progress.

Jenkins is expecting strong Welsh support in England's Twickenham fortress on Saturday.

"I'm not sure how many points it's worth, but it's quite a few. If there are 20,000 here, the boys will thrive on that," Jenkins said.

"It is the game of the World Cup so far. We are looking forward to it. We hope they will be singing during the game and at the end."

Home advantage already had England as slight favourites, but a succession of injuries to hit the Welsh camp appears to have tilted the game even more towards the hosts.

With Australia waiting in the wings, and with a tough game against Fiji still to come for the Welsh, defeat on Saturday would deliver a potentially fatal blow to either side's hopes of a quarter-final berth.

The match will be the 127th between the neighbouring nations with three wins apiece from the past six encounters.

England's Billy Vunipola tries to charge down a kick from Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips, February, 2015.

England's Billy Vunipola tries to charge down a kick from Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips, February, 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Welsh team: 1-Gethin Jenkins, 2-Scott Baldwin, 3-Tom Francis, 4-Bradley Davies, 5-Alun Wyn Jones, 6-Dan Lydiate, 7-Sam Warburton (captain), 8-Toby Faletau; 9-Gareth Davies, 10-Dan Biggar, 11-Hallam Amos, 12-Jamie Roberts, 13-Scott Williams, 14-George North, 15-Liam Williams

Replacements: 16-Ken Owens, 17-Aaron Jarvis, 18-Samson Lee, 19-Luke Charteris, 20-Justin Tipuric, 21-Lloyd Williams, 22-Rhys Priestland, 23-Alex Cuthbert.

England team: 1-Joe Marler, 2-Tom Youngs, 3-Dan Cole, 4-Geoff Parling, 5-Courtney Lawes, 6-Tom Wood, 7-Chris Robshaw (captain), 8-Billy Vunipola, 9-Ben Youngs, 10-Owen Farrell, 11-Jonny May, 12-Sam Burgess, 13-Brad Barritt, 14-Anthony Watson, 15-Mike Brown.

Replacements: 16-Rob Webber, 17-Mako Vunipola, 18-Kieran Brookes, 19-Joe Launchbury, 20-James Haskell, 21-Richard Wigglesworth, 22-George Ford, 23-Alex Goode

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