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Gatland expects England to be more desperate

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Sportal.co.nz     08 Mar 2014     Getty Images

Gatland's side beat England 30-3 on their way to claiming the 2013 Six Nations title, with Stuart Lancaster's team chasing a Grand Slam at the time.

Both teams are in contention for the championship crown this time around, having won two of their opening three matches.

Wales' hammering of England last time out preceded the British and Irish Lions' tour of South Africa and Gatland believes that provided his team with extra motivation ahead of the announcement of the travelling squad.

This time, however, the 50-year-old reckons that it is England who hold the advantage.

Gatland said: "A lot of [Wales] players were probably aware that it was almost a trial game in terms of the Lions selection and to win at home against England, who had a chance of winning the championship.

"So almost psychologically probably some of the Welsh players had a little bit more to play for and a bit more desperation. And maybe the tide's turned a little bit in terms of the English players being potentially a little bit more desperate.

"And because a lot of those Welsh players have had a lot of rugby in the last 18 months - they've had some big games and big occasions in terms of a [2012] Grand Slam, a [2013] Six Nations and a Lions tour - it's almost as if they're in the middle of having to get themselves up mentally.

"And we saw they weren't quite right or weren't quite there for the Irish game [when Wales lost 26-3] and I was really happy with the way they responded against France.

"But again it's another big game for them on Sunday that they need to get up for."

England and Wales are on four points apiece in the Six Nations standings, level with France and Ireland.