Rugby: Upcoming World Cup gives extra spice to Test match between England and Wales

In this file picture taken on June 21, 2014, England's Danny Cipriani clears the ball under pressure from the New Zealand defence during the third rugby union test match in Hamilton. Luther Burrell and Jonathan Joseph will form a new midfield partner
In this file picture taken on June 21, 2014, England's Danny Cipriani clears the ball under pressure from the New Zealand defence during the third rugby union test match in Hamilton. Luther Burrell and Jonathan Joseph will form a new midfield partnership after England coach Stuart Lancaster announced his team Wednesday for Friday's Six Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff. -- PHOTO: AFP

CARDIFF, Britain (AFP) - Wales versus England remains a rugby Test match that never fails to whet the appetite and stir emotions and, this year, there is the added thrill of a World Cup largely on English soil in which the two have been drawn in the same tough pool.

Bragging rights are up for grabs in Friday's match in Cardiff where, 10 years ago, Gavin Henson nailed a long-range penalty that handed the Welsh victory over England and opened the way to a first Grand Slam in 27 years.

After Warren Gatland took over in 2007, Wales went on to clinch Grand Slams in 2008 and 2012 but have been unable to translate that form on a consistent level against the southern hemisphere giants of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

They did manage to edge a weary-looking Springbok team in November, as England beat Australia, nicely setting up Friday's match as both teams strive to build momentum with one eye firmly on the World Cup.

Wales and England meet again in their crunch pool match at Twickenham on Sept 26 - crunch because the pool also includes the Wallabies and unpredictable Fiji, with only two qualifying for the knock-out phase.