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Ieuan Evans' column

Ieuan Evans
By Ieuan Evans
Former Wales captain and BBC pundit

Shane Williams left the field soon after scoring his 45th Welsh career try
He brings that little bit of X-Factor and it is a blow, no doubt about it

Losing Shane Williams is a blow.

We saw from the performance in Scotland that it might not have been quantity but the quality was there.

When he did get the ball in his hands, he scored one and put in the pass for the other try as well.

He brings that little bit of X-Factor and it is a blow, no doubt about it. In a game that may well be very physical, he is someone who can bring something different on the field.

But I still think Wales have enough quality on the pitch on Saturday, particularly if the game ends up being the type of game Wales want.

I think the role of the referee is going to be crucial as well because England will do there damndest to slow down that ball and slow down the pace of the game.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work that out. That's the type of game they've selected. It's a physical team and I expect it to be a physical game.

England still have to show the clarity of thought and purpose that Wales are showing at the moment, and that is the big difference.

Wales probably have more quality players than England at the moment. More than anything, they seem quite clear about their objectives and how they are going to achieve this.


The favourites tag against England is a novel experience. There haven't been many instances over the past 20 years where Wales have gone into a game against England as favourites, but they are justifiably so with this one.

But England can go into this with a siege mentality where they go in as underdogs, where the pressure is off them to a certain extent.

Now that will help them in some way, but I still think if Wales perform to their best, England will struggle to cope with that.

It's a question of whether England can prevent that and as such make it a slug-fest where it could be a couple of penalties here and there.

I think Wales have the full belief and the confidence at the moment to come through this game. I think they can win.

But they cannot afford to be complacent in this game. England will want to be physical and want Wales to take their eyes off the ball.

I expect Wales to win well, but certainly not the margins people are talking about.

Ieuan Evans was speaking to BBC Sport Wales' David Dulin

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