England determined to be 'hard to beat'
January 14, 2013
Rowntree wants England to set the standard in this year's Six Nations © Getty Images
Graham Rowntree has fired a warning shot to England's Six Nations rivals by promising that they will be "hard to beat" in this year's competition.
Speaking ahead of England's opening match with Scotland on February 2, assistant coach Rowntree said that the team will be aiming to kick-on from their historic win over New Zealand in December that will see them start the Championship as favourites - but they are taking nothing for granted.
"We start at a ground zero," Rowntree told The Independent. "We've had it all planned for weeks. Our bedrock statement is this: hard to beat; you will get nothing easy from us. We will be talking about giving the opposition what they don't want.
"That is an Andy Farrell expression and it is a great one. We caught the All Blacks out like that, because of intensity at the breakdown, in the tackle, and counter-rucking, and that helped us to the high point."
England will face a Scotland side reeling from a disastrous end of year campaign that cost coach Andy Robinson his job but Rowntree does not expect anything but a tough challenge in their season-opener. "They worry me," he said. "There is nothing more dangerous in sport than the team with nothing to lose. They will come under two interim coaches, with a new approach and a new-look team. They are us a year ago, and that worries me."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
"The fans could not be happier with the opposition and it adds an exciting element to a game that is shaping up as a thriller." Ben Kay previews the Premiership final showdown
"If there was a cross breed of canine called an Underdogdoodle it would win best in show at Crufts." Mark Durden-Smith looks at the Aviva Premiership Final
With the Lions' tour to Australia fast-approaching, ESPN's Austin Healey and Mark Durden-Smith sat down to share their memories of the 2001 trip Down Under
Ask John answers questions on the Leopards' tour to Italy in 1974, brotherly Test sides, Pat McGrath, England's games against the Barbarians and Jacques Brunel