England captain Chris Robshaw has insisted his side will not be intimidated by the stellar career records of several Ireland players when the two countries meet in the Six Nations at Twickenham today.
Ireland, with the likes of Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell both prominent, boast a team with numerous British and Irish Lions appearances behind them.
And they will arrive in London as Six Nations leaders and Grand Slam contenders following thumping wins over Scotland (28-6) and defending champions Wales (28-3).
However, England, who bounced back from a heartbreaking 26-24 loss to France with a 20-0 thrashing of Scotland, have won their past three Tests against Ireland.
“A lot has been spoken about the experience of their players — the O’Driscolls, the O’Connells — but we need to look at the experience we have got,” Robshaw said.
“On the last two occasions we have beaten them home and away. One was a good scoreline here (winning 30-9), the other a great performance in very tough conditions to win in Dublin (winning 12-6),” the flanker added.
“Ireland have come a long way since then, but we are confident. It is our home pitch. We’ve been around long enough to play against the best names in world rugby and to be ready for anything. Our guys will play what is in front of them and not the reputation. Hopefully we are establishing our own reputations. That’s what we want,” Robshaw said.
Today’s match is to be the Red Rose’s first at Twickenham this Six Nations, with Robshaw keen that they transform the London ground into a home fortress ahead of next year’s World Cup in England.
Until a 30-22 loss to world champions New Zealand in November last year, England had won six straight matches at Twickenham.
“That feeling after losing to New Zealand has stayed with us. We spoke about it after losing to France — we don’t want to be plucky losers,” Robshaw said.
“It’s all well and good playing well, but our industry is a results-based business. Of course you want to play well and score lots of tries, but it comes down to winning and we have to make sure we nail that on Saturday,” he added.
“Twickenham is our home and the World Cup is here in 18 months’ time. We have to make sure it’s a hard place to come and play. Every game is a must-win for us. We know what our situation is — we can’t lose another game in this Championship if we want to win it,” Robshaw said.