England are well prepared for Wales’ hostile brand of patriot fervour when the RBS Six Nations title rivals clash at Twickenham on Sunday.
Scrum half Danny Care admits the Red Rose know they are disliked by Warren Gatland’s champions, while wing Jack Nowell goes a step further by describing the emotion as “hate”.
“There is obviously a huge history between the two countries and we have had some great battles against Wales,” former Prince Henry's Grammar School pupil Care said.
“You know when you play Wales that they don’t like you, which you get used to as an England player. You relish that and look forward to the challenge.
“Any time you play for England it’s a great feeling, but with the Welsh you know they are coming for a battle. We are up for the challenge and looking forward to it.”
Nowell was part of the England under-20 team that defeated Wales 23-15 in last summer’s junior World Cup final and will be making his first Test appearance against their senior team on Sunday.
“I loved winning that tournament. We fell behind in the first half and a few things didn’t go well for us, but obviously it was nice to come back in the end and get the win,” Nowell said.
“We’re going out to play against a team that hate you and want to do anything to beat you up or beat you in the game.”
To combat the anti-English sentiment that drives opponents in the Six Nations, head coach Stuart Lancaster has actively sought to increase the sense of pride in wearing the Red Rose jersey.
“You hear a lot about how proud Ireland, Wales and Scotland are and we kind of get forgotten. I think we are an unbelievably proud country,” Care said.
“Obviously Stuart has done a lot of stuff to reconnect everyone with grass-roots rugby and see the heritage side of things, the lads who have played before us in the shirt and gave their lives in the war.
“We have gone on that journey, looked at stuff like that and seen how much it means to people still.
“We are playing for them and playing for the whole country. We are incredibly proud of putting on the England shirt and running out at Twickenham.”
Full back Mike Brown exchanged angry words with the ultimate champion of Celtic resistance Brian O’Driscoll in the 13-10 victory over Ireland last month.
Ultra-competitive Brown is known for his fiery temperament and has been told to continue playing on the edge by England’s management.
“As long as it’s not affecting the team in a negative way, or costing the team points or a penalty, then the coaches are fine with the way I play rugby,” Brown said.
* Danny Care, Mike Brown and Jack Nowell were representing the England team at an event for QBE, official insurance partner of England Rugby. QBE is supporting the development of rugby through the QBE Coaching Club. Visit www.QBErugby.com