Wales boss Wayne Pivac expects continued improvement in his team’s performance level when the reigning Guinness Six Nations champions tackle England on Saturday.

A fifth successive Six Nations defeat at Twickenham would effectively ended Wales’ hopes of a successful title defence after losing their opening game against Ireland.

“The longer you have with the players, things should improve,” Pivac said.

“We are not bringing in new things each week, it’s little tweaks here and there and we expect improvement.

“The big challenge for us is to have that same attitude and the same willingness to throw ourselves around the park like we did against Scotland (Wales won 20-17) in front of 70,000-odd mainly Wales fans, to do that on the road in a hostile environment with mainly English supporters.

“One of the big challenges we’ve talked about during the week is being able to compete with the English pack.

“It is a big pack, and it’s making sure we are disciplined and don’t give them too many inroads with their lineout, and obviously they’ve got a pretty good scrum.

“It’s a big challenge for us up-front, and we need to back that up across the whole XV.

“In the Ireland game we didn’t have a lot of possession, and when we did, we were under pressure because we weren’t winning collisions and our discipline didn’t back it up.

“That was always going to be a tough day at the office, but I thought there were improvements against Scotland.”

Although Wales beat England at Twickenham in the 2015 World Cup, they have not claimed a Six Nations win there since 2012.

England v Wales
Wales have found wins hard to come by at Twickenham in recent years (David Davies)

But any hope of a successful title defence hinges on them ending that sequence this weekend after victory over Scotland last time out put them back in the mix for silverware.

Wales’ England-based players were back with their clubs during a fallow Six Nations week after the Scotland game.

And while Pivac admits he would “definitely” like all his players plying their trade in Wales, he added: “We just work with the players we’ve got.

“Training alters a little bit because you don’t have the same personnel, but certainly selection is going on form.

“Yes, it’s certainly the ideal situation to have your whole squad for the whole tournament.

“But we realise that is not always the case, and we know that from selecting the squad at the start of the competition. We factor all those things in.”