Rowntree calls for dominance

  • Last Updated: February 2 2013, 9:08 GMT

Graham Rowntree demanded England prove in Saturday's Calcutta Cup showdown with Scotland that their historic triumph over New Zealand was just the start of things to come.

Rowntree: Demands a dominant display
Rowntree: Demands a dominant display

Rowntree spent this week drumming into his men the need to reproduce the same intensity of performance that rocked the world champions at Twickenham just two months ago.

On paper, Scotland do not pose the same threat. They have not won at English rugby's headquarters in 30 years and they head south with a new-look team and a caretaker coaching unit.

But Rowntree, England's forwards coach, is braced for a dogfight. England may have won their last three encounters with Scotland but none by more than a converted try.

Rowntree said: "I am pleased how the last year has gone but I want more. We are nowhere near where we can be and no-one knows that more than us.

"We have spoken a lot this week about recreating the intensity we showed against New Zealand. That has to be our benchmark going forward.

"We know where we are in terms of our group, our experience and what we have to get better at. That's what drives us on, that (quest for) perfection."

Having achieved such a remarkable high against the All Blacks, England are now seeking a consistency that will turn them from a side capable of beating anyone into "a champion team".

"We have got a good culture and one of our bedrock statements is we have to be hard to beat," Rowntree said.

"We will challenge teams in every area of the field.

"The challenge for us now is about dealing with the expectancy and backing up our performances.

"There is nothing more daunting to me than a team coming here with nothing to lose.

"They are always tight games given the competition between the two countries. I am on edge about the game."

The sense of expectation indicates just how much has changed in English rugby over the last 12 months, since Stuart Lancaster and his interim coaching team began the post-World Cup repair job.

England finished second in last year's Six Nations and produced eye-catching performances to draw with South Africa in Port Elizabeth and beat the All Blacks.

Captain Chris Robshaw lifted the Calcutta Cup at Murrayfield and he is hungry for England to begin phase two of life under Lancaster in the same vein the started phase one.

"We spoke in the week about the honour of playing in the oldest international rugby fixture in history," Robshaw said.

"Both sides will be fully aware of what the game means and the history and rivalry between the two countries.

"This is a new challenge. It is about rising to that challenge. I have a very talented and great group around me.

"Every time we go out there we are going out to work hard for the nation, for the fans who have come to watch us and hopefully perform well for them."

In tight encounters such as that England expect today, Lancaster talks about the players who offer a point of difference as being critical.

England have lost one in the injured Manu Tuilagi but hope to have found another in Billy Twelvetrees, who will make his debut at inside centre and is seen by many as the complete package.

Tom Youngs' form through the autumn earned him the hooker's jersey despite the return to fitness of Dylan Hartley while Ben Youngs edged the scrum-half debate from Danny Care.

Owen Farrell is arguably in the form of his life and he will continue at fly-half, having taken his goal-kicking to world class standards since the autumn.


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