February 16, 2019

Care 'honoured' ahead of record-breaking game

10 February 2018, 06:49 | Cameron Gross

Jerome Garces consults with the TMO Credit ACTION IMAGES

Jerome Garces

"It's just my gut feeling that he (Joseph) will start the game well against Wales", said Jones at the England press conference.

Jones objects to the way in which Jones stood in front of Finn Russell to prevent the Scotland fly-half from converting Peter Horne's late try while the television match official reviewed the score.

Jerome Garces will officiate Saturday's clash between the old rivals and Jones is confident the Frenchman will not allow the Wales skipper to "intimidate him".

He won't let Alun Wyn Jones referee the game.

"I can speak for the whole team when I say we are excited to get back to our turf and rip into what is going to be a huge game".

England are on a mission to overtake New Zealand as world number one by the 2019 World Cup - they host the All Blacks in November - and Gatland said: "You can't argue with Eddie's ambition and their record in the past couple of seasons". It is going to be a different challenge from Scotland, but we have won there before and it is definitely do-able.

"The magic now is to blend in players from other clubs, get them all playing the same style of rugby and it's great that they are playing the style that Scarlets are playing but obviously the national team should be stronger".

"I think the relationship between Wales and England has always been close".

Gatland, addressing the media in the build-up to Saturday's England and Wales 6 Nations Test, described the South African series "the easiest of the three" and said he would expect a Jones led Lions squad to clean sweep the Springboks.

Asked if Eddie Jones' comments suggested he might be anxious about Wales, Jones added: "I don't know". And the game only gets more complex. We're inside the tent and we need to deal with what goes on inside the white lines.

The relative ease of England's 46-15 Six Nations victory in Rome last weekend was expected, Wales' 34-7 saunter against the Scots far less so. "He's got plenty of big match experience, he knows how to handle interesting moments in games", he insisted.

Across the park, regional partnerships and combinations are being transferred onto the worldwide stage and trusted to flourish in the Test arena, with Alun Wyn Jones providing the leadership from the engine room.

"You set yourself up for a big game, and then you potentially become number one or someone pulls your trousers down". "For us it as about highlighting their key players and we would be silly not to think they have those sort of personnel".

The way that the Wales camp have spoken this week though and the way that they dispatched Scotland so comfortably last week, you get the impression that they truly believe that they can repeat that victory at the home of English rugby.

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