Gatland targets front row

Wales coach to exploit weakened England pack

By James Mason.   Last Updated: 28/01/10 11:46am

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Gatland: All smiles for Wales coach

Gatland: All smiles for Wales coach

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Wales coach Warren Gatland looks set to target England's new-look front row when the sides meet in the RBS Six Nations opener at Twickenham.

Injuries to Phil Vickery and Andrew Sheridan have forced England manager Martin Johnson to bring in inexperienced players.

The likes of uncapped duo Matt Mullan and Dan Cole have both been called into the squad, with the duo vying to start against Wales..

Conversely Gatland looks set to select a front row of Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees and Adam Jones - with the trio having made more than 160 Test appearances between them.

The front row certainly seems the area Gatland will be targeting against England and the Wales coach is feeling confident with the amount of experience in the squad.

He said: "We will target certain areas, depending on who they (England) pick up front.

"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."

Experience

Wales will be aiming to record only their second victory at Twickenham in 22 years, with Gatland hoping the team can repeat the Grand Slam year they had back in 2008.

He added: "It is a great game to be starting with.

"I just hope it will be the catalyst it was two years ago (when a Wales victory was the first leg of a grand slam), 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 and both sides realise how important it is to win the first game.

"Our performance against Australia (Wales's last game in November which they lost 33-12) was disappointing, and we need to be a bit smarter.

"But the pleasing thing, both against Australia and New Zealand, was our territory and possession increased from the previous year."

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