Six Nations 2014: Cheeky Warren Gatland plays mind games with Stuart Lancaster's 'boys'

The Wales coach believes a win at Twickenham would put doubts in England minds

It would not be England versus Wales without a barbed comment from Warren Gatland, who came as close as possible to beckoning Sunday's hosts with a "come-and-have-a-go" challenge.

The mischievous New Zealander has previously singled out Paul Sackey and Dylan Hartley with his mind games before encounters.

This time it was any Englishman who was part of the capitulation in Cardiff 12 months ago with the threat that Wales will test just how much Stuart Lancaster's side have "grown" from that 30-3 hammering.

"England say they have learned harsh lessons from last year and all the talk is that these boys have turned into men. I guess time will tell on Sunday," said Gatland.

Last year, British Lions places were also on the line, as well as a Grand Slam. This weekend, the Wales coach believes, will see the victors land a telling blow before the mother of all derbies, in the 2015 World Cup.

"It's a big game psychologically for both teams. It's the last time we go to Twickenham before next year, which will be an even bigger game than Sunday," said Gatland. "If we win this week, then it's four in a row against England and that will have an effect. A few doubts will creep in for them.

"It's a long way off and both teams will be far stronger then, but the fact that we have had success there helps. In terms of age profile and total number of caps, which could be around 1,000, our team will be coming into their peak. That's something for us to get excited about."

There was even a shot from Gatland at the bookmakers, who make England favourites against the reigning Six Nations champions on Sunday, despite recent history.

"I'm not sure who has won the last three games between us… I think it was us," he said.

"In the past, going to Twickenham was a step too far for Wales players and before this group it was 20 years that Wales hadn't won there. But as Adam Jones said, we have no fear."

Rhys Webb retains the No 9 jersey ahead of Mike Phillips though Jonathan Davies and Alun Wyn Jones return to take Wales' tally of Lions to a dozen. England are likely to include just two.

Asked whether more Englishman would make his selection on current form, Gatland quipped: "There would be more Irish now."

He added: "England are improving and have dangerous runners like Mike Brown, who has probably been the player of the tournament so far. But they're missing key players like Dan Cole, Alex Corbisiero and Geoff Parling, and also Manu Tuilagi, if he doesn't start. When those guys are back, they will be very strong."

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific