Six Nations 2013: England must 'harness fear' to win in Wales

Six Nations: England's Grand Slam glories

England assistant coach Graham Rowntree says the players must feed off the hostility awaiting them in Cardiff to deliver a first Grand Slam in a decade.

Ten of England's side will be playing a Test at the Millennium Stadium for the first time.

But Rowntree has urged his charges to conquer their fear of failure and revel in what will be a feverish atmosphere.

"You have to harness the fear and use it as determination, not be shackled by expectancy," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"They have to handle it - it is part of the experience. We have been away to some big stadiums in the last year: the third Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth [a 14-14 draw], we beat France in the Stade de France, we beat Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, so the guys are learning about dealing with hostility.

"You have got to use that to drive you. There is no feeling like it in sport. I remember it as a player, that intimidation and fear that drives you on when you are away from home. Big away wins are what I most remember about playing rugby."

Rowntree, who enjoyed victories in Cardiff, Dublin and Wellington in England's memorable 2003 alone, admits that Wales' greater experience - they have 647 caps in their starting XV, compared with England's 290 - could be a factor on Saturday.

But he believes that England's determination to succeed can counter that, provided they stick to the game-plan that served them well until last Sunday's scratchy win against Italy.external-link

"Of course experience is important," added the former prop. "But over the last year we have had these guys together, there have been many occasions, particularly away from home, when the opposition has had double or treble the amount of caps we have had.

"But what our guys have is a real hunger and urgency in what they do.

"The main message this week has been to stick to the plan. In the second half in particular against Italy, we went off script and got a bit panicky when things weren't going our way.

"But we are quite capable as a team of playing in the right areas and using the territory to our advantage when we stick to the plan."

England just require victory to secure their first Championship clean sweep since 2003, but will still win a second title in three years if they lose by six points or less.

Wales will retain their title if they win by eight points, or seven if England do not score three more tries than them.

England captain Chris Robshaw, among those who will experience the Cardiff atmosphere for the first time, believes his side's "collective unity" will see them through.

"People say it is one of the best places to go and play rugby in," he said. "The atmosphere the Welsh and the travelling fans create is something special. We are fully aware of that and we need to make sure we are not overwhelmed by it.

"We want to go out there and achieve something very special. Hopefully if we get the fine detail right, things will take care of themselves.

"Whether it is the half-back combination or the front row, there are key battles everywhere, but it is about a team performance and that collective unity."

Top Stories