Jones wary of 'writen off' Wales as he calls for England intensity

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Eddie Jones
Eddie Jones

Head coach Eddie Jones believes a "written off" Wales will "relish" facing his England side in an Autumn Nations Cup international at Llanelli on Saturday.

It has led Jones to urge the Six Nations champions to "play with an intensity that Wales have never faced before".

Jones' men are overwhelming favourites to win the teams' final Pool match and assure themselves of a place in next weekend's Autumn Nations Cup final.

Jones has made just a couple of changes to the starting lineup that beat Ireland 18-7, with fully fit fly-half George Ford starting after coming off the bench at Twickenham last week.

The formidable pack that pulverised the Irish remains intact, while two-try hero Jonny May still provides a cutting edge on the wing.

Wales did end a six-game losing streak last week, but an 18-0 win over second-tier Georgia bears little relation to the task of taking on England, last year's losing Rugby World Cup finalists.

Moreover, Wales are without several injured first-choice players, notably back-rowers Justin Tipuric and Josh Navidi, although flanker James Botham -- the grandson of England cricket great Ian Botham -- is included after a promising Test debut against the Lelos.

Jones, however, told reporters on Thursday: "Wales are in a situation they probably relish. They've been written off... Nothing would make their season sweeter than having a win over England.

"We're expecting a really tough, brutal sort of game. Twelve months ago they were Grand Slam champions and three points away from making a World Cup final. They're a talented team and we'll have to be at our best."

Meanwhile under-pressure Wales coach Wayne Pivac tried to remain upbeat amid his injury problems.

"It's unfortunate but, as we've said all along, it's going to create opportunities for others and in the loose forwards, it's young James Botham and Shane Lewis-Hughes.

"They're a couple of guys with big futures... What a match for these guys to be tested in."

As for the outspoken Jones' remarks about "intensity", the New Zealander said he expected "nothing less".

"He's in a position where he can do it," added Pivac. "The boys have been playing very well in that white jersey."

Both coaches paid tribute to Welsh referee Nigel Owens, who will be in charge of his 100th Test when France face Italy this weekend.

"It's a great achievement by a referee and he's done it with a lot of colour and humour," said Jones. "He's certainly added to the game, so congratulations to Nigel."

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