WALES coach Warren Gatland insists his squad are treating Saturday’s meeting with England as a cup final.
The round four encounter is effectively a championship decider, with Wales chasing their fourth title of Gatland’s reign.
“Our whole mentality for this week is to approach it as a final, and often that brings the best out of players in terms of being almost an end of season game,” said the former Wasps coach.
Despite being unbeaten so far in the championship, the Welsh have come in for some fierce criticism for their supposed lack of creativity.
However, Gatland was quick to warn England that his side will raise the bar at Twickenham.
Gatland said: “I think there’s another level in us. We’ve been pleased with a lot of aspects of our game, it’s just sometimes execution.
“We’ve been putting players a little bit more into wider channels, that they probably haven’t been quite as familiar with.
“Sometimes some of the forwards in those wider channels have let us down a little bit, and that’s been an aspect of our game that we’ve been working hard on and skill levels in terms of finishing things off that we’ve created.
“Hopefully we can do that on Saturday.”
Historically a trip to Twickenham would send shivers down the spines of Welsh players, such was the dominance the English held over their Welsh counterparts.
However, such fears have long been dispelled with all but one of Wales’ starting 15 having triumphed at Twickenham.
“We feel like there’s a lot of strength in depth in terms of the experience of the loose-forwards, the two locks, the two young props have continued to get better and better,” said the former Waikato hooker.
“Samson Lee had been coming back from injury during the World Cup so we feel that Samson and Rob Evans have done really well, and Scott Baldwin just continued to get better and better as a hooker.
“In terms of the experience of the team, we feel we’re in a pretty good place at the moment.”
One area where Eddie Jones’ side will undoubtedly target the Welsh will be at scrum time.
However, the Welsh boss is confident that young Welsh prop tyros Rob Evans and Samson Lee are up to the challenge.
“I think our set-piece has been excellent, scrum and line-out and our kicking and aerial game has been very good as well.
“We’ve created some chances and we haven’t executed in finishing those off. That’s definitely a criticism against us, in terms of finishing off those chances.
“But I think our game’s in good shape at the moment, and we’ve been very pleased with the way that we have scrummaged in particular and that young front-row that has continued to improve.
“Hopefully it’s an area on Saturday that we can go out and dominate. If we can do that at set-piece, scrum and lineout then hopefully that goes a long way to giving us a good performance.”