Wales' loss against Scotland in their Six Nations opener has severely dented their chances of competing in the top tier of world rugby later this year, but a shock win against England is not an impossible task, the players believe.

The narrow 20-18 loss in Cardiff means Wales now face an uphill struggle to finish in the top three of the Six Nations, unless they can cause a significant upset against England or France, who have been dominant in recent years. Wales and Scotland were expected to battle it out for third, with the top three teams automatically qualifying for next year's Rugby World Cup and the prestigious WXV1 tournament in September, which sees the best teams in the world compete against each other.

Winger Jasmine Joyce admitted Wales now face a difficult task to achieve their goal after losing to the Scots at home for the first time in 20 years.

"We haven’t lost to Scotland in so long and so it’s a huge disappointment," Joyce said. "Especially with what lies on games like that now - you want to come top three to make it into the top tier of WXV and obviously with World Cup qualification coming up. But we put it out there, we really did try our best, everyone worked so hard for each other so yeah, really disappointed and frustrated with the result."

“The top four or five teams are now just getting better and better. Every game is going to be hard regardless of who we play so we are still 100% fighting for that top three spot," she added.

Wales were a missed last-minute conversion away from snatching a draw in the Six Nations opener, and the loss has made them even more desperate for a win against a strong England squad at Ashton Gate this weekend. Ioan Cunnigham's side will be up against it against the Red Roses, who demolished Wales 59-3 last year.

But Joyce said: "We love going in as underdogs. It makes you be braver, you have got nothing to lose going out and playing against England so I really hope that as a squad we feel like that going into the game on Saturday. Nothing to lose, play with our hearts and try our best.

"Coming out of the blocks is always important regardless of who you play to get a hold in the game so it will be really important for us to get hold of the first 20/30 mins and take it moment by moment then.

"When I played them last time, for the first 30 mins we were three nil up, so as long as we can put in an 80-minute performance, we can go for it then.

Team-mate Georgia Evans added: “I don’t think any Welsh side needs even a little push to get excited for an England game. It is always a battle. I think the loss has made us even hungrier if I am honest.

“The loss has hardened our skin, thickened us. We make sure we take all our learnings, take the resilience, and put it into games.

“Anyone who comes up against England is always put down as the underdog but there is always a spanner to be thrown in the works and we like to think of ourselves as a team that will never give up on the fight. We will take it to England.”