England v Wales World Cup warm-up will be as intense as Six Nations, says Elliot Daly

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Elliot Daly has ruled out a de-escalation in the England v Wales rivalry when the old rivals clash at Twickenham next Sunday.

It is the opening instalment in a run of four warm-up Tests leading into the Rugby World Cup and the first of a double header, home and away, against Warren Gatland’s Grand Slam champions.

While the matches are used to tune-up teams in advance of the global showpiece, Daly insists the enmity between England and Wales means only one thing.

“It’s a Test match so intensity will be brought. It will definitely be similar to a Six Nations game,” Daly said.

“It’s an international. You can’t be talking about not going for those games, especially as there is only four games before the World Cup starts.

“Every time we play Wales it is a brilliant atmosphere and you are always going to get good support. It will be a great crowd vibe and it’s always a great game.

“I have played Wales in an end-of-season game in June so I’m pretty sure it won’t be different to when we are playing them in Six Nations.”

Eddie Jones names his final World Cup squad in between the two fixtures with Daly, the Saracens-bound full-back who also covers centre and wing, a certainty to be departing for Japan on September 8.

As one of England’s most dangerous players, only injury can prevent him from being involved, yet the 26-year-old still intends going full throttle during the warm-up games.

“Everyone at the moment is actually really looking forward to these games to show what we can do,” he said.

“We want to get that team cohesion we have been looking for during training in the last few weeks.

“If you start thinking about not getting injured then that is when you tend to do get injured and stuff doesn’t seem to go as you would wish.

“The way we are looking at these games is to really improve before the World Cup and put our best foot forward.”

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Wales dealt blow as star Taulupe Faletau is ruled out of the World Cup

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Wales star Taulupe Faletau has been ruled out of the World Cup in Japan after being dealt another cruel injury blow.

The Welsh Rugby Union said the Bath number eight, who has won 72 caps and played in four Tests for the British & Irish Lions, had suffered a collarbone injury.

The WRU added that he will require surgery following what it described as “an innocuous training ground incident”.

In a statement, the WRU said: “Taulupe Faletau has been ruled out of Rugby World Cup contention due to a clavicle injury.

“The injury was sustained in an innocuous training ground incident and will require surgery.

“A prognosis and return to play time-frame will be established after surgery.

“The Wales squad and management would like to wish Taulupe the very best with his recovery.”

Faletau shone for the British & Irish Lions in the series draw with the All Blacks in 2017.

Faletau shone for the British & Irish Lions in the series draw with the All Blacks in 2017.

It is the latest major setback for Faletau, who broke his arm twice last season and has not played for Wales since March 2018.

But he has trained with Wales this summer and was recently part of an intensive two-week camp in the Swiss Alps as he built towards potential World Cup selection.

Only last month, Faletau spoke about his hunger to play again after being sidelined for so long.

The 28-year-old’s absence will be keenly felt, although Wales have considerable back-row resources.

The likes of Ross Moriarty, Josh Navidi, Aaron Shingler, Justin Tipuric and Aaron Wainwright are among those in head coach Warren Gatland’s training squad.

Gatland is due to name his final 31-man World Cup squad in early September, with Wales’ opening game being against Georgia in Toyota City on September 23.

Bath Rugby director Stuart Hooper told the club’s official website: “Any time a player misses out on a major competition is hugely disappointing.

“We are all feeling the impact of this news, especially as it follows a number of unfortunate and frustrating injuries for him.

“We will plan and support Toby’s (Taulupe’s) recovery, making sure it is the very best for him, in order to maximise his successful return to the game.”

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Scotland are not a one-man team, insists string-puller Finn Russell

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Finn Russell has brushed off suggestions Scotland are a one-man team – insisting it will take a collective effort to make their World Cup campaign a success.

Critics of Gregor Townsend’s side claim the Dark Blues only soar when stand-off Russell is on song. But the talismanic playmaker is adamant he is only able to pull off his party tricks of audacious faints and no-look passes with the help of his colleagues.

Scotland will need the Racing 92 star to be at his maverick best if they are to escape the group stages when they travel to Japan in two months’ time.

But Russell says he has no plans to do it all on his own and will instead rely on a support network to help Scotland shine in the land of the rising Sun.

“I’d only been playing professionally for about 18 months, maybe a little more, at the last World Cup in 2015,” said the 26-year-old at the squad’s temporary training base at St Andrew’s Old Course Hotel.

“Now I’ve got five and a bit years under my belt and it is different. I developed as a player, as a man. I’ve matured and got more experience.

“I think the position as a 10 or a 12 means you’re at the heart of the attack so I’ll be trying to help my team out and take the lead on the attacking side.

“As a 10, everyone looks to you for how we can start an attack. I know when I first came into Scotland, I looked to Greig (Laidlaw) because he was one of the experienced ones.

“You have to look at the other folk around you for help. I like that. It does have to be a collective approach.

“No team can rely on one individual. I’ll try and take a lead on the attacking side, but I’m going to be going to my centres, my nines, my full-backs, whatever, and asking them what they think, because they’re doing their job as well.

“I don’t really know how to play wing, so I need to know what they want from me, and they need to know what I want from them.

“I think when the team plays well it’s easy for me, the 10, to be the guy that’s controlling the game. If I’m on my game then it’s going to be easier for them.

“It works hand in hand, but I don’t believe it’s one individual that’s going to get us to the quarters or semis or final, wherever we get to. I think it’s going to have to be everyone on the same page.”

There is certainly evidence to back up those who believe Scotland are at their most dangerous when Russell performs.

March’s Twickenham thriller saw England threaten to blow Townsend’s hesitant line-up away before half-time – only for Russell to urge a change of tactics in the dressing room before spearheading a stunning second-half fight.

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend.

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend.

But if Scotland want to plan for life beyond a pool containing Ireland, Russia, Samoa and the hosts Japan, then he admits he cannot afford the sloppy periods that cost them during this year’s Six Nations.

He said: “I need some consistency, but I’m still going to keep playing the way I’m going to play. At the World Cup with four group games, you need to be at the top of your game to get out of the group.

“I’m just going to make sure I’m in the best shape I can be, and prepared as well as I can for the World Cup.

“I don’t want to look back and think if only I did this or that differently. I’m just going to keep doing the same, but I want to be in the best shape and mentally in the best place I can be for it.”

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