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 Sports Media Ltd.
"Gentlemen, if you want to see the World Cup going south yet again, you are going the right way about it," John Taylor looks at the state of European rugby
The Heineken Cup proved once again just why it is the best domestic rugby competition in the world at the weekend and Monday Maul picks out some of the key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler