As England and France stretch their legs, Wales has a chance to prove the Celtic nations are not left behind

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England head coach Eddie Jones has tried to downplay the feeling his side deserve such a bill, highlighting issues that need to be addressed this week.“We’re not a team that hums, like a big V8 cruising on the highway. We’re still trying to fix these issues, ”Jones said.

“They’ve been sitting all week with people talking about England and the challenge they’re going to bring, so they got pushed and learned their coach was under pressure. There will be a lot of desire and intention. You look at their team and it’s a strong team. They have good players all over the park, so we can’t underestimate them.

And yet, a glance at the respective teams and their form suggests differently. England, after a slow opening game after the resumption against Italy, appear to have surpassed their level of performance in last year’s World Cup, at least in terms of fundamentals, especially their ability to physically dominate the opposition and through defensive aggression.

Pivac’s work to rebuild after the World Cup is more difficult and without the same breadth, depth and stability as his English counterpart.

Given the happy resurgence of France this year and Ireland in search of a new identity under Andy Farrell, it feels like unless Wales fight on Saturday the European game could moving towards a return of the Anglo-French domination that characterized the 1990 and the first half of the 2000s.

Although Wales have won their last two games against England at home, they have overall lost eight of their last 11 games against former enemies.

George Ford, back in the semi-final in the only change of personnel in the starting XV that beat Ireland last Saturday, however expects a desperate reaction from Wales.



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