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Chris Robshaw : England will attack Wales


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Article Published: Saturday 25 February 2012


England captain Chris Robshaw expects a "much improved" attacking display when his side face Wales in the Six Nations at Twickenham on Saturday.

Robshaw's first two games as skipper have seen a new-look England, aiming to recover from their World Cup disappointment, start the Six Nations with wins away to Scotland (13-6) and Italy (19-15).

But England, under the caretaker charge of Stuart Lancaster, have managed just a solitary try in each of those games, with Charlie Hodgson charging down on both occasions.

They now face Wales, who have run in six tries during victories over Ireland and Scotland to top the Six Nations table, with the World Cup semi-finalists strongly fancied to record what would be only their second win at Twickenham since 1988.

However, Harlequins flanker Robshaw -- one of several England players who will be appearing in their first Twickenham Test -- is confident his team can match Wales in attack.

"Everyone looks quite sharp and I think we've improved in our last performances," the 25-year-old said at Twickenham on Friday.

"We always knew going up to Scotland and away to Rome that it was all about getting the win.

"We know our performances weren't perfect but we like to think that in the last week-and-a-half we've really worked on that and hopefully our attacking game will be much improved tomorrow (Saturday)."

Hodgson will be missing at the weekend because of a finger injury and his 20-year-old Saracens team-mate Owen Farrell has been moved from centre to fly-half in his absence.

The match will be just the third Test of Farrell's career and his first at No 10.

But someone who is confident the youngster can cope with the pressure is his father, Andy, a former dual code international who is now one of England's assistant coaches.

Farrell senior captained the Great Britain rugby league team as a 21-year-old and he said of his son: "There are obviously similarities with being a youngster and performing at the highest level.

"It is something you are so proud of as a player. It is a dream come true for anyone to play at Twickenham, the home of rugby union. To play in front of 82,000 is something special.

"Owen is like the rest of them. I don't think there are a lot of expectations on his shoulders.

"Every professional wants to go out there and perform. You do that by making sure you are on the same page as your team-mates, making sure you are prepared and that you know exactly how the team will play.

"If you know the detail of how you are going to impose yourself on the opposition, I think confidence comes with that."

Another 20-year-old member of England's back division is fit-again centre Manu Tuilagi, who has overcome a hamstring injury, and Andy Farrell is confident the Samoa-born midfield powerhouse will hit the ground running.

"He's had two games (for Leicester) to get his match fitness back. In Test match football you need to be fit and confident that you can perform in the arena and Manu is certainly ready for that step now."

Wales may be the favourites but Farrell said: "I think there is pressure on both sides. That is the beauty of international football. Everybody wants to win and perform and show what they are about in an arena like this.

"Wales have been playing very well of late. They 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."

 
 
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