Six Nations 2011: England rally round for Hartley to silence Gatland

Mike Tindall has warned Warren Gatland that England have invoked the spirit of the Three Musketeers and are ready to make Wales pay for his verbal attack on Dylan Hartley.

Gatland deliberately lit the fuse ahead of tonight's potentially explosive Six Nations showdown in Cardiff by branding Hartley a choker and questioning his temperament.

It was a brazen attempt by Gatland to provoke the fiery Northampton captain into doing something stupid at the Millennium Stadium tonight.

Punters can get odds of 12-1 for Hartley to be yellow carded and he expects Wales to target him, just as the Cardiff Blues did in their recent Heineken Cup defeats to Northampton.

But Otley-born Tindall, who takes the armband for the first time in this his 67th cap, vowed England's tight-knit squad would stand up for their man by taking an 'all for one, one for all' mentality into the game.

"You have got to support your players. If anyone has a pop at one player they are having a pop at the team," said Tindall, 32, for whom captaincy of his country is up there alongside helping them win the World Cup in 2003.

"That is how we have to respond as a team, get behind each other and go out there to solve the problem.

"Dylan is a good enough professional to understand what is going on.

"I expect a big game out of him and hopefully the boys will rally around and put in the same performance for him.

"It is always a fierce rivalry and that is the way it should be.

"We are going to honour that by playing hard rugby on the field."

Tindall believes that collective spirit is one of the key factors behind England's improvements over the last year.

Martin Johnson's men go into the Six Nations as the highest- ranked team in Europe and favourites to lift their first title since 2003.

"Everyone has bought into how we are trying to run England rugby," said Tindall.

"Everyone gets on, everyone bonds together really well. It sounds a small thing but it makes a massive difference.

"That translates to people fighting that bit harder for the guy next to them. In those pressure situations it makes a difference."

England have not won a Test in Cardiff since 2003 and Tindall is the only remaining member of the starting XV to have left the Millennium Stadium with a victory.

Tindall is confident England have learned from their autumn experiences – the costly slow start against New Zealand and the lesson in physicality dished out by South Africa.

He said: "Wales have enough individuals to cause you problems. If we turn up there and play our game we believe we can win. That is the challenge for us.

"Wales always have the ability to pull out massive performances when things go right for them. We have to expect that to happen.

"The first 20 minutes we have to get out there and put a stop on it before it gets going.

"We have to start well. If we can impose our game we will be in a strong place to control the game."

Wales centre Gavin Henson has joined Toulon until the end of the season.