Friday 27 April 2018

Gatland ready to target front row

Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland

Wales look set to target a demolition job on an inexperienced England front row in next week's RBS 6 Nations opener at Twickenham.

Wales boss Warren Gatland is poised to name an all-British and Irish Lions Test front row of Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees and Adam Jones and that revered unit could find itself opposite a largely untried England combination of Tim Payne, Dylan Hartley and David Wilson.

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

Crucial to Welsh victory ambitions - it would be only a second Twickenham triumph in 22 years - is the return of Ospreys tighthead Jones.

He enjoyed a magnificent Lions tour of South Africa last summer before a serious shoulder injury suffered in the second Test prematurely ended the 28-year-old's trip.

Jones missed Wales' four autumn Tests as a result, but he is now back and in full destructive mode, as illustrated by his powerful display against the Ospreys' Heineken Cup opponents Leicester last weekend.

"It is good to have Adam back," said Wales skipper Ryan Jones.

"You cannot win Test matches without a set-piece, and Adam brings a certain stability to our scrum."

Gatland will name his starting line-up for Twickenham next Sunday evening, although those plans could now be affected by Wales full-back Lee Byrne's disciplinary hearing two days earlier.

Press Association

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