belfasttelegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Robshaw: History is on our side

England captain Chris Robshaw

Chris Robshaw has warned Grand Slam-chasing Ireland that recent meetings between the title rivals prevents England from being intimidated by reputations.

A host of Ireland's lauded British and Irish Lions will swagger into Twickenham on Saturday as RBS 6 Nations favourites following comprehensive victories over Scotland and reigning champions Wales.

It is a showdown pivotal to the outcome of the Championship, but three successive victories in the fixture points to Red Rose supremacy.

Lions Brian O'Driscoll, Paul O'Connell and Jamie Heaslip have made 29 appearances against England alone, accumulating 18 wins, but Robshaw has reminded them of events at Twickenham and the Aviva Stadium over the last two years.

"A lot has been spoken about the experience of their players - the O'Driscolls, the O'Connells, the Heaslips - but we need to look at the experience we have got," the captain said.

"On the last two occasions we have beaten them home and away. One was a good scoreline here (winning 30-9) the other a great performance in very tough conditions to win in Dublin (winning 12-6).

"Ireland have come a long way since then, but we are confident. It is our home pitch.

"We've been around long enough to play against the best names in world rugby and to be ready for anything.

"Our guys will play what is in front of them and not the reputation

"Hopefully we are establishing our own reputations. That's what we want."

England's resolve to dent the Irish title challenge is stiffened by the need to transform Twickenham into a fortress ahead of next year's World Cup on home soil.

Until a 30-22 loss to New Zealand in the climax to last autumn's QBE Internationals, they had posted six successive victories at their London headquarters.

The visit of Ireland is the first match of the 2014 Six Nations to be staged at Twickenham after they were edged by France in Paris and routed Scotland at Murrayfield.

"That feeling after losing to New Zealand has stayed with us. We spoke about it after losing to France - we don't want to be plucky losers," Robshaw said.

"It's all well and good playing well but our industry is a results-based business.

"Of course you want to play well and score lots of tries, but it comes down to winning and we have to make sure we nail that on Saturday.

"Twickenham is our home and the World Cup is here in 18 months' time. We have to make sure it's a hard place to come and play.

"Every game is a must-win for us. We know what our situation is - we can't lose another game in this Championship if we want to win it."

To draw greater inspiration from their support, the players will disembark from the team bus earlier than usual when they arrive at Twickenham with the new route sweeping them through the crowds outside the Lion Gate.

"When we drive to the ground it's all quiet and chilled out and then you get off the bus and there's just rows and rows of white shirts and white flags," Robshaw said.

"It's that moment that you see on the TV growing up and stuff, this is what it's really about, we've got to go out there and make it happen now."

Robshaw describes Ireland's "fierce" pack as a "well-oiled machine", but admires an England backline that has conjured four tries in equal measure

"Our backs have been outstanding in this tournament so far," he said.

"The attitude of everyone to go and play at the right times has come on massively."

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