Andy Robinson expects England to encounter a "highlycharged" Wales team in Saturday's Six Nations Championship opener at Twickenham.
Injuries and suspension might have severely hampered Wales coach Mike Ruddock's plans for a successful title defence but England boss Robinson believes the grand slam champions still pose a major threat.
"Every team has injuries, so that is something you have just got to deal with," Robinson said. "I think we will have a highly-charged side that will be full of confidence coming to Twickenham. Because of the way they (Wales) have played over the last year, they've grown some belief.
"But what is important to us is that Twickenham is a fortress, and it is now time to re-establish that. We started to do it in the autumn, and it is important for us to match whatever Wales have got."
Robinson has named a revised 27-man squad to prepare for the match, before his scheduled team announcement this afternoon.
Nine players have been cut from the original Six Nations party, including four who are injured - Worcester flanker Pat Sanderson (back), Olly Barkley (dislocated thumb), Mark Van Gisbergen (sprained foot) and George Chuter (knee sprain).
The other five players omitted are Leicester wing Tom Varndell, his Tigers team-mate, lock Louis Deacon, Wasps centre Stuart Abbott, Perpignan prop Perry Freshwater and Sale Sharks flanker Magnus Lund, who all feature in a 27-player England A squad to face their Italian counterparts in Colleferro, near Rome, on Friday night.
Varndell and Deacon were involved during the 40-3 victory over Samoa in November while Abbott's form suggested he might have challenged for a midfield place against Wales. But Robinson's preferred centre pairing looks like being Mike Tindall and Jamie Noon.
Uncapped Lund, meanwhile, seems set to start for the A team, a game Robinson has attached great importance to.
He said: "There is a massive importance for the A's and, if they can perform well there, they are pushing for places the following week (against Italy)."
With captain Martin Corry nailing down one of England's back-row spots against Wales, the major interest centres on whether World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio will earn a recall 17 months after he retired from international rugby.
Wasps flanker Joe Worsley and Leicester's Lewis Moody are favourites to pack down alongside Corry but Dallaglio remains on course at least for a place in England's match-day 22.
England enjoyed a satisfactory autumn series, beating Australia and Samoa comfortably, while pushing world leaders New Zealand to the brink before conceding a 23-19 defeat.
But they must now push on and re-establish themselves as a major Six Nations force following two years of considerable under-achievement when they won only five games from ten tournament starts.
Robinson said: "In the three games we played in the autumn, I thought we set a benchmark, and it is important we build on that.
"We haven't been together for a few months, so now it is important we gel quickly and develop the systems we were attempting to work on in the autumn and improve our game step by step."
England will go into their Six Nations campaign buoyed by three Premiership clubs - Sale Sharks, Leicester and Bath - reaching this season's Heineken Cup quarter-finals after some high-octane European clashes.
"I think it really helps us," Robinson said. "It's important the intensity of the game is a key component, and the ability to make decisions under pressure at a fast pace.
"If you can do that, then you can play quickly, and that's the thing for us - we want players that are able to make those decisions under pressure, playing at a real fast pace, and I think that bodes well for the development of England." n Worcester stand-of Shane Drahm has been named in the England A squad to face Italy A on Friday.