Grand Slam winning captain Ryan Jones discusses Wales’ forthcoming Twickenham clash.
Wales are seeking to take the fight to the England front row in their RBS Six Nations opener at Twickenham.
Coach Warren Gatland hopes to name an all-British and Irish Lions Test front row of Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees and Adam Jones for the 6 February clash.
With Andrew Sheridan and Julian White injured, England is likely to start with the relatively inexperienced Tim Payne, Dylan Hartley and David Wilson.
“We will target areas depending on who England pick up front,” Gatland said.
“I am happy with our experience in the front five. Games are won up front and it is important that our tight five fronts up.”
England manager Martin Johnson has also called up Worcester loose-head prop Matt Mullan and Leicester tight-head Dan Cole into his Six Nations squad.
At least one of the 22-year-old front-rowers are likely is named in the match-day squad for the opening game against Wales.
Although Wales have won just once at Twickenham in 22 years that success came two years ago on their last visit, while Gatland’s side also triumphed 23-15 in Cardiff in last year’s championship.
“It is a great game to be starting with,” Gatland said.
“I just hope it will be the catalyst it was two years ago [when a Wales victory kick-started a Grand Slam campaign], which gave us the confidence and momentum for the rest of the championship.
“Both teams are very similar and whoever wins will go in with a bit of confidence for the rest of the championship.
“The two sides will be desperate to win the game and both sides realise how important it is to win the first game.”
The list includes Jones and Rees, plus star wing Shane Williams, who has played little rugby since being hurt during Wales’ autumn defeat to Australia at the end of November.
There is also the added complication of Lee Byrne’s disciplinary hearing on Friday.
The full-back faces a European Rugby Cup misconduct complaint following his brief appearance as a 16th player for the Ospreys against Leicester in the Heineken Cup.
If Byrne is hit with a ban then Gatland has the option of retaining James Hook in the number 15 shirt.
Hook filled in admirably at full-back during the autumn international series while his Ospreys team-mate was sidelined by injury.
“Adam Jones and Matthew Rees have not had a lot of rugby, and Lee Byrne and Shane Williams not a significant amount of time,” Gatland added.
“The weekend will be pretty critical with a number of players playing for their regions.
“Shane is definitely under-cooked, but for a player who has not played a lot in the last six to eight weeks his performance against Leicester was pretty good.
“He played a lot better than one might have expected. He was error-free and pretty dangerous.”
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