Lancaster: Time for talking is over
March 7, 2014
Burell: It's been a whirlwind
Stuart Lancaster has said the time for talking is over and called on England to deliver a big performance when they face Wales on Sunday.
The Welsh travel to Twickenham hunting an unprecedented third successive Six Nations title, but England coach Lancaster insisted his young side are ready for battle.
Lancaster said: "All the talking is fine but we have to make sure we deliver on the field. It's a big game, a tough game, but we think we're ready."
England showed a new maturity against Ireland a fortnight ago, when they held on for a nail-biting 13-10 win at Twickenham. But memories of the 30-3 thrashing at the hands of Wales in Cardiff last year have not disappeared altogether.
Sparking the war of words, Wales coach Warren Gatland said: "All the talk is that the [England] boys have turned into men, that they have learnt some pretty harsh lessons from last year, that they have grown up. Time will tell, won't it? We'll see on Sunday."
Lancaster, however, stressed the importance of home advantage. He said: "I think it's fantastic to go back to Twickenham. There was an unbelievable atmosphere against Ireland and this week will be right up there as well.
"It definitely gives us an extra lift and that's what we want against another experienced, high-quality side, who are looking to defend their title. Hopefully, we'll give performances like we did against Ireland."
England have made just one change to the XV that saw off Ireland, with Ben Morgan replacing the injured Billy Vunipola at No. 8. Exeter's Tom Johnson is promoted to the bench as back-row cover.
Lancaster said: "Ben has made an impact off the bench in the previous games. He has been pushing hard for the number eight shirt and now gets his opportunity, so we are looking forward to seeing him from the start.
"Tom has been outstanding for Exeter and gives us options off the bench as he has played in all three back-row positions for his club."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton