The dust had barely settled and the champagne corks had yet to be popped following England’s win over Ireland at the weekend when attentions already turned to playing Wales.
England trio Danny Care, Joe Marler and Jack Nowell joined the O2 blueroom after a dramatic and determined victory over the Irish that many believe could prove to be a defining moment for Stuart Lancaster’s young side.
They fielded questions ranging from Mike Brown’s man-of-the-match award to what job they would like to do after retiring (Marler wants to be a turfer and Nowell a hairdresser, although tongues were firmly in cheeks by this stage).
But it was Wales’s visit to Twickenham on March 9th that continued to crop up, with memories of last year’s 30-3 defeat in Cardiff seemingly a long way from being forgotten.
That defeat ended England’s 2013 Grand Slam hopes and Care and co. seem determined to use that experience as extra motivation when the two sides meet again in round four of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations.
“It’s a huge game,” said scrum-half Care. “We need to win to keep the Six Nations alive and we owe them a lot of revenge. The Twickenham factor was huge [versus Ireland], the fans were outstanding and we’ll use that next week.
“Wales played better [against France] and will come here confident. We will have to play as well – or better – than against Ireland to beat them this time.”
England prop Marler is one of only six players who started the match in Cardiff in 2013 that looks likely to begin the rematch at Twickenham.
The Welsh front-row got the better of their English counterparts 12 months ago and Marler rates Wales tight-head Adam Jones as one of his toughest opponents.
“It was nice to get one over the Ireland pack – we’ve been there and know how it feels. It was great to do that to them but the next two games are going to be what wins us the championship – hopefully.”
Care said his match-winning try against Ireland was a high point in his rugby career, but captain Chris Robshaw spoke to the players in the post-match huddle to make them aware that the task is far from finished.
“I think without doubt it was the best feeling I have had in an England shirt,” added Care. “Going over the line at Twickenham, under the sticks, was a very special and very lucky moment for me.
“Robbo just said this is the benchmark – we’ve beaten Ireland, we need to do the same against Wales.”
Nowell made his home debut against Ireland and played all 80 minutes for the second match in a row, growing in confidence at international level after an unfortunate start in Paris.
“In the France game we made some mistakes and didn’t get the win we wanted, which was disappointing,” said the 20-year-old winger. “In the Scotland game the conditions were not the best, but against Ireland we made it our game and got the win.
“It was everything we wanted to do – we are confident, we will be confident against Wales and that is what we are concentrating on now.”
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