England v Wales: Smash World Cup opponents - Warren Gatland

Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess made his Test debut for England against France at Twickenham on 15 August this year
World Cup Pool A: England v Wales
Venue: Twickenham, London Date: 26 September Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra, BBC local radio, plus live text commentary on every match on the BBC Sport website.
Further coverage: BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and BBC local radio.

Wales will set out to "smash" rookie centre Sam Burgess - just like the rest of his England team, says coach Warren Gatland.

The two sides meet in Saturday's World Cup Pool A match at Twickenham, kick-off 20:00 BST.

League convert Burgess, 26, has played only 112 minutes of international rugby union and will line up opposite Jamie Roberts, who has 70 Wales caps.

"We won't be trying to single out Sam Burgess at all," said Gatland.

"We will be going out there to smash him like everyone else," he added.

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Bath's Burgess bowed out of the 13-man code in 2014's NRL Grand Final. He put in a man-of-the-match performance when South Sydney Rabbitohs won their first title in 43 years. And Gatland believes that sort of experience will serve Burgess well.

"He's got inexperience at rugby union, but not at big occasions," said the Wales coach.

"We're not rubbing our hands together about one player thinking there's a weakness there - that is not the way we look at it.

"When you underestimate a player, it comes back to bite you."

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Second row fan club

Wales' second-row Bradley Davies, who plays his club rugby for Wasps, says he is looking forward to facing Burgess, having been a fan of the centre in the 13-man code.

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"I watched him when he played rugby league and he's a great athlete," he said.

"I think he's very similar to Jamie Roberts in the way they play.

"It's going to be fantastic to see them running at each other and hopefully I'll get a chance to run at him before he can run at me.

"You want to play against the best. He's a world-class rugby league player and he's transferred to rugby union now and hopefully we can make it an uncomfortable day for him and we can win."

Lancaster braced for gain-line battle

England coach Stuart Lancaster says Burgess's selection - along with Saracens' Brad Barritt in midfield - is designed to deny Wales front-foot ball and momentum, but thinks that the former Bradford Bulls man also offers attacking threat.

"We need to have good defenders to stop Wales on the gain-line," said Lancaster.

"Sam's a good and powerful defender. But also I think he offers us a threat in attack. We don't always have to use the threat that he is. Sometimes you can bypass him.

"The game will be judged a success if we win. If we lose I will be questioned. Clearly my selection heightens it."

Sam Burgess and Brad Barritt
Burgess (left) and Barritt (right) are England's 14th centre partnership of Lancaster's four-year tenure

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