Ashton out to build on NZ win

  • Last Updated: January 25 2013, 8:22 GMT

Chris Ashton has outlined the importance of England hitting the ground running in the RBS 6 Nations as they look to build on a record victory over New Zealand.

Chris Ashton: Wants same mentality
Chris Ashton: Wants same mentality

England set new standards with their stunning 38-21 demolition of the world champions on December 1 and that has led to a spike in public expectation.

Around 6,000 supporters were expected at Headingley today to watch England's open training session.

Scotland's interim coach Scott Johnson said his team were focused on ruining England's party at Twickenham a week on Saturday - and he mocked the injury issues which have created doubts over Manu Tuilagi's availability.

But the England squad have no interest in engaging in a pre-match war of words, vowing to issue their response on the pitch instead.

"I hope we have exactly the same mentality and exactly the same outcome (as the New Zealand game). That will be everyone's intention and I can't see it being any different," Ashton said.

"We broke a barrier that day in terms of having confidence in ourselves, that we are capable of those wins and scoring more than enough tries.

"We understand how we want to play and the way we want to play. Everyone is on the same sheet now. At the minute the goal is to go out and win every game.

"We'll take a lot from that New Zealand game. It gives you faith in yourself and the team.

"We all know what we can do. I don't see why we can't just kick on from there now.

"We can't start the Six Nations cold. Scotland will be hoping for an upset but we can't allow that to happen."

Ashes-winning captain Andrew Strauss and Jessica Ennis' coach Toni Minichello have addressed the squad this week on how to handle the pressure of expectation and still deliver on the biggest stage.

"We have to get good at being consistent and not worrying about Scotland," said coach Andy Farrell.

"We have been very hard to beat. The scorelines have always been close when we have lost but consistently winning with a top performance is what we are after.

"We will be going all out to do that against Scotland. We still have to find that consistency and top-level performance."

England's injury concerns centre upon Tuilagi, who is battling to be overcome an ankle injury which ruled him out of Leicester's Heineken Cup win against Toulouse.

The England management are prepared to give Tuilagi until Tuesday to prove his fitness, such is his importance to the side - as evidenced with his key role in the victory over New Zealand.

Tuilagi scored one try and created two others in England's record 38-21 triumph on December 1 and Farrell said: "He has done unbelievably well for us.

"The physios are definitely not writing him off. They think he has a fighting chance but it would be unfair to leave it until the end of next week."

England spent Thursday working on different midfield combinations, with Jonathan Joseph or Billy Twelvetrees the likely alternatives for Tuilagi.


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week