ENGLAND head coach Eddie Jones has dismissed any notion that Wales’ Millennium Stadium is a “fortress”.
The Cardiff ground is renowned for creating one of the most electric atmospheres in world rugby and England must win there on Saturday week if they are to continue towards a Six Nations Grand Slam.
Although the Red Rose are in imperious form after stunning victories against reigning champions Ireland and a 44-8 rout of France on Sunday their next opponents are in fine fettle themselves.
Warren Gatland’s side have won a record-equalling 11 successive Tests, their last loss being in Dublin on February 24 last year, and have defeated the likes of South Africa (twice), Argentina (twice) and Australia along the way.
Welsh hopes of a first Championship success since 2013 are rising and they know their iconic home stadium – where they also host Ireland on the final weekend – could play a big part in delivering glory.
However, Jones, who won in Cardiff with England two years ago, insisted: “I have never found it to be a fortress. You go there and it is a tough game; they are a good side, loud crowd – but it has never been a fortress to me.
“We need to be unbelievably physical. Every Warren Gatland side is very physical. They contest the breakdown hard. They’re highly skilled at the breakdown.
“Defensively they’re well drilled by Shaun Edwards and they have points in them.
“That’s why they’ve been able to have the greatest run ever. So the first challenge when you play Wales is to win the physical challenge.”
Jones will be confident his side can do that after witnessing them dismantle France, racing into a 30-8 interval lead and then preventing their opponents from even gaining a point thereafter.
“We were really happy with our second half against France, with our discipline, our focus and our ability to be relentless,” he added.
“If you want to be one of the best teams in the world then you have to be relentless. You can’t get seduced by the scoreboard or the opposition.”