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Robshaw aims to land Wales blow

Chris Robshaw has demanded England issue a statement of intent against Wales ahead of their meeting in the group stage of the 2015 World Cup.

Sunday's pivotal title showdown will have psychological ramifications far beyond the outcome of the RBS 6 Nations, which has become a four-way shoot-out with two rounds remaining.

It will be Wales' final visit to Twickenham before the rivals clash at the same venue in the World Cup and their head coach Warren Gatland on Wednesday outlined what is at stake.

"We have two big games at Twickenham in the World Cup against England and Australia," Gatland said.

"If we can win on Sunday, that is four in a row (against England) and if we then win the Six Nations as well, you start having a few doubts."

Robshaw understands the enormity of the occasion as England seek a first win in the fixture under head coach Stuart Lancaster.

"We play at Twickenham in the pool stages of the World Cup and of course there's still next year's competition as well," the England captain said.

"If Wales win every game going into the World Cup, it's not going to fill you with confidence, is it?

"You want to make sure you can get one over on them and get the results when it matters."

Of the three consecutive defeats inflicted by Wales, last year's 30-3 rout in Cardiff was by far the most gruesome as an England team on the brink of winning the Grand Slam was put to the sword.

Notable victories over Australia, Argentina and Ireland have been pieced together since, but memories of that traumatic 80 minutes at the Millennium Stadium will only be truly dispelled by beating Gatland's champions.

England have opted against viewing the match as a motivational tool with Robshaw stressing that 12 months and eight Tests later, they are a different proposition.

"I don't think there's any point in replaying last year's game. What it shows is what not to do," Robshaw said.

"Of course people remember what happened and they probably always will because you remember those types of occasion.

"We probably switched off a little bit, chased the game too early and eventually it played into their hands. By that stage the game was gone and it was a long way back.

"We're now a lot better at dealing with those situations, about how we get back into the game.

"Last year doesn't have too big an influence on Sunday. Of course it was disappointing and they are a side that have beaten us and we haven't beaten them.

"But look at what is up for grabs for us on Sunday - a Triple Crown and that's massive.

"We haven't won that before, especially on home soil. And the winners potentially go for a decider next week.

"There's too much at stake this year to worry about what happened before.

"We've come a long way since then. As forwards we talk about this all-court game, about mixing it up, playing what's in front of us.

"And the backs have come on massively. You look at the way they are playing at the moment, scoring tries and creating things.

"The nine and 10 are putting us in the right place, bossing the team around. They've been outstanding."

Robshaw will lock horns with British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton for the third time, a player he admires along with Wales flanker Dan Lydiate.

"Sam is an incredible player and he's shown that consistently over the last couple of years. Both he and Dan Lydiate work very well together," Robshaw said.

"Dan is very good at those kind of chop-axe tackles and it allows the next guy, which is normally Sam, to close in on the ball."


From Belfast Telegraph