Steve Borthwick says England 'excited' by Wales showdown
By Paul Vinnell
Last Updated: 26/05/16 11:40pm
Forwards coach Steve Borthwick says England are "excited" about Sunday's one-off Test with Wales at Twickenham, live on Sky Sports 3.
The fixture replaces the traditional end-of-season non-cap international against the Barbarians and is being staged to assist the Rugby Football Union in compensating Aviva Premiership clubs for the disruption caused by last autumn's World Cup.
England will select their strongest available team for the last of three Twickenham matches in eight months against Warren Gatland's men, but are missing players from league finalists Saracens and Exeter, who meet at the same venue 24 hours earlier.
The following day the Grand Slam winners head to Australia for a three-Test series against the Wallabies and Wales depart for New Zealand, before a 'season' that effectively started in September 2014 because of the World Cup finally comes to a close.
Borthwick insists England should expect to win on Sunday despite the unavailability of stars such as Billy Vunipola, Maro Itoje and Jack Nowell in front of what is expected to be a full house.
"From our perspective, this is a Test match. It feels like a huge and exciting Test match," the forwards coach said.
"At this point we've sold 78,000 tickets so it's going to be a sell-out or very close to a sell-out.
"The supporters are excited about it and it's a brilliant opportunity to be playing this game in May in what should be a good game.
"We've prepared the best we can and we want to win as many matches as we can."
Leicester prop Dan Cole echoes those sentiments and is treating the contest seriously ahead of the three-Test summer tour of Australia.
Cole admits he would rather have been lining up at Twickenham for the Tigers, but insists they are ready for a tough challenge.
"Ideally I'd be playing in the Premiership final, but I'm not. It's not a warm-up game, it's a Test match," he said.
"For me it's part of the Australia tour, a four-Test block. It's good being in camp because [head coach] Eddie Jones has put a real spring into the English step."
Watch England v Wales on Sunday. Coverage begins on Sky Sports 3 HD at 2:30pm.