World Cup 2015: Warren Gatland questions England's approach

Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland and Stuart Lancaster are level at 2-2 in Tests between Wales and England
Rugby World Cup
Hosts: England and Wales Dates: 18 September-31 October
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra, BBC Radio Wales and in Welsh on BBC Radio Cymru, plus live text commentary on every match on the BBC Sport website.

Wales coach Warren Gatland has questioned World Cup rivals England's tactical and selection dilemmas before the tournament.

Gatland says Wales are "a little bit more settled and more comfortable" with their "experience and combinations".

He envies England's strength in depth, but says "they are not 100% sure of where they are going".

Meanwhile, Wales have replaced England in fifth place in World Rugby's rankings.

Ireland also dropped a place - from second to third - after Wales beat them 16-10 in Dublin last weekend as Australia, who are in World Cup Pool A along with Wales and England, rose to second.

Gatland named his 31-man tournament squad on Monday, leaving out versatile Cardiff Blues back Gareth Anscombe.

Wales' World Cup pool games
Sunday, 20 Sept, 14:30 BST: Wales v Uruguay, Millennium Stadium
Saturday, 26 Sept, 20:00 BST: England v Wales, Twickenham Stadium
Thursday, 1 Oct, 16:45 BST: Wales v Fiji, Millennium Stadium
Saturday, 10 Oct, 16:45 BST: Wales v Australia, Millennium Stadium

Wales host Italy in Cardiff on Saturday in their final World Cup warm-up before the tournament starts with Stuart Lancaster's England hosting Fiji on Friday, 18 September.

But as he turned his attention to what lies ahead in the tournament, Gatland underlined his confidence before Wales' 26 September encounter with England at Twickenham.

"England have got the problem of which way they want to play and who they want to play," the New Zealander said.

"Who are they going to play at nine and 10? Who are they going to play in midfield?

"What is the make-up of their back-row? They need Geoff Parling to call their line-outs - who is his partner and who comes off the bench?

Sam Warburton
Sam Warburton led the 2013 British and Irish Lions in Australia

"We are a little bit more settled and more comfortable with the experience and combinations that we've got.

"Obviously, they have got some world-class players and the depth that I would love to have, but they are not 100% sure of where they are going.

"It's a toss of a coin, isn't it? There's a bit of respect between the two teams, and on the day we are both capable of beating each other.

"As a coach, I've had some great success at Twickenham."

Wales captain Sam Warburton expects to face the Azzurri on Saturday, having been ruled out of the win over Ireland by a shoulder blow suffered in training.

The flanker says he was left "panicking" over his tournament prospects.

Geoff Parling
Geoff Parling was a 2013 Lion under Gatland in Australia

"Jake Ball, who is 126-127kg (over 19 stone), came flying into my shoulder," Warburton said.

"It was perfectly legal, but it caught me right on the button where I have suffered before with nerve damage."

Warburton has been dogged by shoulder injuries and was relieved when the symptoms eased.

"Initially, I was a little bit worried because when I had it first time it was a three-month job and on the second it was two months.

"When I took my T-shirt off in the hotel I could not lift my arm up and I thought the worst, as you do.

"Luckily, within two or three days it recovered 100% quicker than it had in the past.

"It was a minor scare so with the Ireland game we thought for the sake of three or four days' extra rest, it was not worth risking re-injuring it and missing a month or five or six weeks."

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