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Gatland: England have questions to answer

WALES boss Warren Gatland said yesterday that group rivals England were faced with a number of questions that need answering as they head into a World Cup on home soil.

Wales, England, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay will contest the tournament’s so-called “pool of death,” with only two quarter-final places available.

And while Wales possibly start as third favourites to reach the last eight, Gatland is undeterred by a critical Twickenham summit with England on September 26.

“We are much more settled,” Gatland said, after naming a 31-man World Cup squad that includes England-based trio Matthew Morgan, Tomas Francis and Dominic Day.

“England have got the problem of which way they want to play and who they want to play.

“Who are they going to play at nine and 10? Who are they going to play in midfield? What is the make-up of their back-row? They need (Geoff) Parling to call their lineouts — who is his partner and who comes off the bench?

“We are a little bit more settled and more comfortable with the experience and combinations that we’ve got.

“Obviously they (England) have got some world-class players and the depth that I would love to have but they are not 100 per cent sure of where they are going.

“It’s a toss of a coin, isn’t it? There’s a bit of respect between the two teams and on the day we are both capable of beating each other.

“As a coach, I’ve had some great success at Twickenham. I think it’s a great stadium and I love going there. It’s been lucky for me, and may it continue to be so.”

Gatland’s squad contains five locks, with one of those — 90 times-capped Alun-Wyn Jones — currently suffering from a medial knee ligament strain, while only two hookers have been selected in Scott Baldwin and Ken Owens.

Gatland has also gone with wing Liam Williams, who has not yet recovered from a foot injury, and prop Samson Lee, who suffered an Achilles tendon injury last March.


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