England v Wales: James Hook tips Warren Gatland to pick full-strength side

Warren Gatland puts his squad through their paces in Fiesch, Switzerland
Wales started their World Cup build-up with a training camp in Switzerland
World Cup warm-up: England v Wales
Venue: Twickenham Date: Sun, 11 Aug Kick-off: 14:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC 5 Live Extra & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary

Fly-half James Hook expects Wales head coach Warren Gatland to select his strongest team for their opening Rugby World Cup warm-up game against England.

Gatland's side play at Twickenham on Sunday, 11 August before hosting the English six days later, then home and away matches against Ireland.

"I think he's going to go quite strong and continue the momentum from the Six Nations," Hook told BBC Radio Wales.

Wales are 2019 Six Nations champions and have won their last 14 games.

"They don't have a big squad anyway," said Hook, "but repeating that at Twickenham in one of the warm-up games before the World Cup, the confidence that would give the players would be huge.

"I expect him to go pretty strong, perhaps the team that finished the Ireland game."

Wales beat Ireland 25-7 in March to clinch the Grand Slam and extend their record-breaking winning run.

Hook, who was man of the match at Twickenham in Gatland's first victorious game in charge 11 years ago, will not be too concerned if Wales lose for the first time since February 2018.

"If they don't win this weekend it's not the end of the world, it won't affect the World Cup too much," the 81-cap Wales international added.

"You'd expect them to win at least two games out of these four, particularly the home games, and if they can win a game this weekend or in Ireland even better, but if they lose all four it doesn't matter."

Hook also questioned the need for so many tough games before travelling to Japan in September.

"Injuries are inevitable. Before the last World Cup the amount of injuries they had, you know I don't think they need four games but that's the way it is," the Ospreys player said.

"It probably comes down to money as well. Wales miss out on the autumn internationals, so having England and Ireland generates that little bit more money.

"If they can come through these games unscathed then obviously they will be right up to speed for Test match intensity."

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