Wales coach Mike Ruddock has dismissed England's injury-hit preparations for the RBS 6 Nations Championship, and insisted: ''Any England team will be incredibly formidable.''
The world champions will line up in Cardiff on Saturday without injured stars Jonny Wilkinson, Mike Tindall, Will Greenwood and Richard Hill, plus their World Cup colleagues Stuart Abbott and Martin Corry.
England coach Andy Robinson has decided to blood 18-year-old Newcastle centre Mathew Tait, while midfield clubmate Jamie Noon will also make his first Six Nations start, together with wing Mark Cueto and flanker Andy Hazell.
The popular theory is that England are there for the taking, with Wales desperate to end a 12-year wait for victory over them in Cardiff.
''Much has been said about their injury problems, but one has to say that any England team will be incredibly formidable,'' said Ruddock.
''The world champions look very strong, with a significant balance of youth and experience in the side.''
Ruddock's own plans have received a major boost, with former skipper Martyn Williams being declared fit for the clash.
The Cardiff Blues flanker will win his 50th cap, replacing an injured Colin Charvis, after recovering from disc trouble in his neck.
''We believe this is the best available team, with a great blend of skill, experience and, for the first time in a while, an element of continuity and stability in selection,'' Ruddock added.
''We believe this team, if it plays to its potential, is good enough to counter the obvious strengths of the England side and achieve a victory.''
Wales' acting head coach Rob Howley has given Sam Davies and Rory Thornton a boost ahead of the RBS 6 Nations by naming the uncapped Ospreys duo in his largely experienced squad for the Autumn Internationals.