Tindall demands more from England
February 7, 2011
Tindall encourages his team-mates during his side's opening Six Nations victory over Wales on Friday night © Getty Images
England captain Mike Tindall has urged his side not to get carried away with the opening Six Nations victory over Wales and demanded they raise the bar against Italy on Saturday.
Stand-in skipper Tindall, handed the captaincy in the absence of injured flanker Lewis Moody, steered England to a 26-19 victory at the Millennium Stadium on Friday night - their first victory in the Welsh capital since 2003.
The tournament is now set up perfectly for England to capture the Championship crown for the first time since the same year with successive home fixtures against Italy, France and Scotland before a trip to Ireland on the last weekend. But Tindall warned England all their efforts in Cardiff will go to waste if they allow their standards to slip against the Azzurri on Saturday.
"That was a great win. You hope it will be an important win in the team's development - but we mustn't get ahead of ourselves," said Tindall. "We have to use the win as a stepping stone. Yes, there will be more expectation as we are at home but that comes from ourselves as well.
"Italy won't come to Twickenham and lie down to let us win. We have to demand performances from ourselves. We don't want to win ugly and scrape through. We want to win with the brand of rugby we have put out there over the last 6-8 months. If we do that we believe we will beat teams."
England laboured to victory over Italy in Rome last year but the injection of youthful talent in the form of Toby Flood, Ben Youngs, Ben Foden, Chris Ashton, Courtney Lawes and Tom Palmer has laid the foundation for a more dynamic side. That new attitude means England's players will gather back at their training base today expecting a "few rollockings" from manager Martin Johnson, despite their victory. "You don't get better by patting yourselves on the back too much," said Johnson.
No.8 Nick Easter, who delivered his latest assured display in Cardiff, echoed his manager's sentiments ahead of the clash with the Azzurri. "In the last Six Nations we painted over a few cracks rather than addressed the problems," he said.
"We beat Wales convincingly at home, won in Italy and thought we were there. We didn't win a game after that. We realised we weren't really on the right track in certain aspects - and one of those was the honesty calls. It's a big shift of approach but that's what you must do. You have to be brutally honest. If you want to be the best in the world - and nobody's hiding from the fact that we do - we're going to have to iron out our problems."
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