Sense of pride now needed at home from England

Chris Robshaw.Chris Robshaw.
Chris Robshaw.
Chris Robshaw believes England need to return Twickenham to its fortress-like status if they are to strike fear into visiting teams.

Ireland, Wales and each of the southern hemisphere heavyweights have won at Twickenham in the last few years as England failed to make the most of home advantage at the famous old stadium.

But with a World Cup campaign to be fought primarily at headquarters two years from now, Robshaw knows the time has come for England to start making teams afraid of visiting the old cabbage patch.

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Australia are the first visitors in the latest QBE Series which begins on Saturday, with Argentina and world champions New Zealand to follow.

In the last four autumn series’ England have done no better than two wins, but if they want people to regard them as World Cup contenders in 2015, they have to make winning at home a habit.

Robshaw, who overcame Tom Wood in the battle for the captaincy, said: “Two years out from a World Cup everyone who comes to Twickenham will be looking to get an edge over us, especially Australia and Wales who are in our group.

“We need to have a sense of personal pride because it’s our home stadium.

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“If you look at the build-up to the 2003 World Cup, England had been unbeaten at home since 1999.

“It’s about making it a really tough place for people to come and play.

“That doesn’t just happen, it takes a lot of hard work. Hopefully it’ll start building now.”

Robshaw echoed the instruction head coach Stuart Lancaster gave to his players at their training camp in Leeds last week, that now is the time to take their development to the next level.

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“You never want to be a team that goes out fighting only when it has nothing to lose,” said Robshaw, 27.

“It’s an important series for us – we really want to kick on and show what we are about now.

“We’ve had 18 months to two years where we’ve had some good experiences and some tough ones.

“We’ve done a lot of learning in that time, but it’s time for us now to go up another gear.”

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Lancaster names his team this morning with who to start at scrum-half his biggest quandary.

Ben Youngs has traditionally been the starter in the No 9 shirt, but as the Leicester player made hay with the British and Irish Lions in the summer, Lee Dickson capitalised by starring on England’s tour to Argentina.

The Northampton scrum-half has been in better form for his club this season and was spoken of in glowing terms by Lancaster at the England squad’s training camp in West Yorkshire last week.

The other No 9 in the equation, Leeds-born Danny Care, has fallen to third in the pecking order and was sent back to his club side Harlequins on Tuesday night.

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Until Stockton-born Geoff Parling was ruled out against the Wallabies with mild concussion on Tuesday night, a fierce battle for the second row was nearing its climax.

Courtney Lawes is viewed as a definite starter, thereby leaving Parling and Joe Launchbury to compete for the one remaining vacancy.

Unless Lancaster springs a surprise by picking Dave Attwood, who only returned from a rib injury last week, to partner Lawes, it will be Launchbury who features in the XV.

England were outmuscled by Wales as they crashed to a 30-3 defeat in their season-defining grand slam match in Cardiff and have recognised the need for more of the type of physicality Lawes can provide.

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“I’ve been very impressed with the consistency in his game and so have his club,” said forwards coach Graham Rowntree.

“He’s really come on, he’s developing into a lineout leader and he’s maturing well.”

Rowntree, however, refuses to cast Lawes in the role of enforcer and outlines what he expects from his tight five.

“I want the opposition to know they’re on the field. We want our guys doing a simple job dynamically and aggressively,” said Rowntree.

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“I don’t want anybody in the sin bin or anybody fighting when someone else is making their tackles – you can’t do that these days – but I want guys to impose themselves physically on the 

Alex Corbisiero’s knee injury means Mako Vunipola, who struggled against Australia’s scrum in the second Test for the British and Irish Lions, will be picked at loosehead prop.

Joel Tomkins is set to make his Test debut alongside Billy Twelvetrees in the midfield, with Chris Ashton and Marland Yarde on the wings and Mike Brown at full-back.