• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Lancaster: Welsh have been model for England's campaign

Stuart Lancaster has revealed this weekend's opponents, Wales, have provided the inspiration for England's RBS 6 Nations campaign after his side's opening defeat to France.

The defending champions, who visit Twickenham on Sunday, overcame losing their first fixture last season to go on and win the title.

Lancaster, the England head coach, said: "It was the objective at the outset to try to win the tournament. We didn't quite achieve what we wanted against France. That put us on the back foot.

"From that point on we've used Wales as motivation, after they lost their first game against Ireland last year but went on to win the title.

"To win a championship you have to win four straight after losing the first. No-one has won a title on three wins. If we can get the win on Sunday, it's still within our capability."

Lancaster has worked hard to try to ensure his team to not invite the "arrogant English" taunts past teams have attracted. He values humility and admits he would be stung if tag were to surface before the Welsh arrive at Twickenham.

"I'd be disappointed if it was put against us as a group because I don't think it's a reflection of the group at all," he said. "We want to come across as a group who have our feet on the ground, who aren't getting carried away with ourselves and have a bit of humility about ourselves."

Providing ammunition for Wales, though, is the elitist image of the English game. Should Lancaster, as expected, name an unchanged starting XV from the win over Ireland, only two of the players included will be state-school educated.

"I'm quite fortunate that having worked in education I've seen it from both sides," said Lancaster, a former PE teacher. "I've taught in a comprehensive, I went to a boarding school myself and I've coached in both.

"I think the appeal of our system is that players can get through from both areas. State school lads now have unbelievable opportunities to come through and become international rugby players. That's important."

Manu Tuilagi and Marland Yarde joined England's extended training squad for the first time in this Six Nations after lengthy spells in the treatment room.

Centre Tuilagi made his comeback from a torn pectoral muscle for Leicester on Sunday, while London Irish wing Yarde is two matches into his return from a hip problem.

However, Lancaster said they would be unlikely to figure against Wales. "They'd have to go some in the next couple of days, it's fair to say," Lancaster said. "It's a big ask for Manu to come back having had such a long period out."

Contextual targeting label: 

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.