Joe Launchbury expects Wales to provide stiff opposition to England on Saturday even though their squad has been depleted by injury
England‘s Joe Launchbury expects Wales to put in a strong performance when the two sides meet at Twickenham on Saturday, despite their well documented injury problems.
Wales lost influential players Rhys Webb and Leigh Halfpenny before the tournament, while Liam Williams and hat-trick scorer Corey Allen limped off against Uruguay on Sunday.
While Williams is expected to be fit to face England this weekend, Allen’s hamstring strain is enough to end his tournament, with Wales almost down to the bare bones in the backs.
But Launchbury recalls the RBS 6 Nations clash between the sides in February when an England side weakened by injuries upset Wales at the Millennium Stadium.
“It’s bit of role reversal because we went to Cardiff in the Six Nations with some injuries and the guys put in a great performance. The shoe is now on the other foot,” Launchbury told the Press Association.
“Wales are coming to an away ground and have a huge opportunity to upset us in the World Cup.”
Launchbury, the England second-row who came off the bench in the hosts’ first game against Fiji on Friday, is no stranger to the kind of tactics Wales will employ, having played under coach Shaun Edwards at Wasps.
“From when Warren (Gatland) and Shaun were at Wasps, I know the sort of messages they will be giving to their players in the week. I am sure they are hugely excited.
“Warren will be telling them to make a fast start and really try and use their forward pack to get a foothold in the game.
“They have some nasty injuries which is huge shame and they will miss those players, but others are coming in who are exceptionally talented with a lot of caps behind them.”