Wales must beware new-look England, warns Robshaw

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Chris Robshaw has promised England fans an improved attacking performance at Twickenham today as Stuart Lancaster’s side look to continue their grand slam quest.

England have ground out victories in Edinburgh and Rome to set-up an RBS Six Nations showdown with fellow unbeaten side Wales this afternoon.

And despite being underdogs against the vastly-experienced and in-form Welsh, captain Robshaw is confident England have the offensive tools to dismantle Warren Gatland’s side.

“We know our past performances weren’t perfect but we have really worked on it and hopefully our attacking game will be much improved,” said Robshaw, who is one of seven England players starting at Twickenham for the first time.

“It has been one of the things we have worked on, having that variety in our game. That has gone to another level now we have got to know each other a bit better.

“Everyone has to do their individual job, whether that is hitting a ruck or running in a try in the corner.

“If everyone can do that to the best of their ability, then hopefully it will be a good day.”

England’s tally of 182 caps in their reshuffled starting XV is dwarfed by Wales’ total of 488 and is fewer even than the visitors boast on the bench.

It is also the most inexperienced Red Rose team to play a championship match for 23 years.

Robshaw said: “It is a big step-up but it is one we are looking forward to. These are the games we want to play in. That is when you really test yourself as a player.

“Everyone looks sharp and I think we can improve on our past performances.”

Wales have won only once at Twickenham since 1988 but a repeat performance today could put a severe dent in Lancaster’s hopes of landing the head coach’s job on a full-time basis. The former Leeds coach has impressed in his short time in charge and a victory based on attacking verve today will go a long way to swaying the Rugby Football Union into appointing him full-time.

Lancaster has shown bravery throughout his team selections, never more so than ahead of today’s game; the biggest test of his – and new-look England’s – credentials.

Moving Owen Farrell, 20, to fly-half in place of the injured Charlie Hodgson is perhaps his boldest decision. But Lancaster’s backs coach, Andy Farrell, believes England should have nothing to fear.

“You can tell there is something different in the air. The guys are revving up for a big weekend,” said Farrell senior. “Wales are a good side and it will be a challenge for us – a new side coming home for the first time in the Six Nations. But we have been pretty good at meeting challenges head on so far.”

Davies on Lancaster: Page 7.

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