Six Nations 2021: England wary of Wales' power, says Matt Proudfoot

Anthony Watson scores for England
Anthony Watson scored in England's 33-30 win at Twickenham 12 months ago, but his team's record is far poorer in Cardiff
2021 Guinness Six Nations - Wales v England
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 27 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Watch live coverage on BBC One or BBC iPlayer; listen on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales or BBC Radio Cymru and follow live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

England know their hopes of defending the Six Nations could be snuffed out by Wales' suffocating gameplan, says forwards coach Matt Proudfoot.

England, who lost to Scotland on the opening weekend, have been beaten on seven of their past 10 trips to the Principality Stadium.

"They just don't let you go. They get hold of you and just squeeze you," Proudfoot told BBC Sport.

"Our focal point has been to match their intensity."

Proudfoot suffered four successive losses to Wales during his time as part of South Africa's backroom staff, before helping mastermind the Rugby World Cup semi-final victory in October 2019.

A behind-the-scenes documentary of the Springboks' campaign in Japan showed South Africa's players being told in no uncertain terms of Wales' threat, with then-head coach Rassie Erasmus comparing their spirit and toughness favourablyexternal-link to England and Ireland.

"I know how tough it is to go there and how well you have to be prepared," Proudfoot added.

Proudfoot picked out flanker Justin Tipuric, scorer of two tries in the teams' 2020 Six Nations clash, as the best performer in a star-studded Wales forward pack.

"Wyn Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau, Josh Navidi, Aaron Wainwright, James Botham, they are special players, great players, " he added.

Justin Tipuric and Courtney Lawes
Justin Tipuric and Courtney Lawes renew their rivalry on Saturday

"The one really on top of the pile is Tipuric - if you look at his skillset defensively, attacking-wise, what he does in the line-out, he is a special player."

His evaluation was backed up by Courtney Lawes, who toured New Zealand with Tipuric as part of the British and Irish Lions in 2017.

"He is just a great player," Lawes told BBC Sport. "Really consistent, good skills and probably quite an underrated player as well. He gives them a lot around the park."

Around the BBC iPlayer bannerAround the BBC iPlayer footer

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC