England scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth insists Wales’ deepening injury woes will not dilute their fierce competitiveness when the two sides do Rugby World Cup battle at Twickenham on Saturday.
Cardiff Blues centre Cory Allen, who scored a hat-trick in his side’s 54-9 thrashing of Uruguay on Sunday, became the latest Welsh player to be ruled out of the tournament after tearing a hamstring against Los Teros. Allen has been replaced by one-cap Tyler Morgan of Newport Gwent Dragons.
Question marks also remain over props Samson Lee, Paul James and Aaron Jarvis as well as full-back Liam Williams, while injury has already robbed Wales of key trio Leigh Halfpenny, Jonathan Davis and Rhys Webb.
“We know we’re going to get the best of Wales on Saturday which, hopefully, is going to bring the best out of us,” said Wigglesworth. “We’re under no illusions what a tough, tough test this is going to be. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
“[Wales coach] Warren Gatland will try and get his lads revved up and go to Twickenham to take the points, which is what every team is going to try and do. It’s up to us to impose ourselves on them and hopefully we walk away with the points.”
Wigglesworth was one of a number of players to impress off the bench as England opened their Pool A account with a bonus-point victory over Pacific Nations Cup champions Fiji on Friday.
A number of selection conundrums face head coach Stuart Lancaster before he names his matchday squad to face Wales on Thursday, with the likes of Owen Farrell, Billy Vunipola, Sam Burgess and Joe Launchbury all pushing for a starting berth.
“I feel good and the rest of the bench for the Fiji game feel the same. If you are named on the bench, you are there to make a positive impact,” added the 32-year-old.
“Things get made of the bench when it performs well, but we are running on fresh. The lads who start aren’t so we’ve got to make some sort of positive impact.
“All the lads who aren’t in the starting XV are pushing all the time, that’s hopefully what’s making us into a good squad.”
England and Wales are the early frontrunners in Pool A, the so-called Group of Death, with five points apiece, while Australia begin their campaign against Fiji at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow.