When England take on Wales the game is usually decided by fine margins so England defence coach John Mitchell knows that his team cannot afford to be off their game in Cardiff this weekend.
In the last six meetings between the teams in the Guinness Six Nations, only once has the margin of victory been greater than seven points – Wales’ eight-point win in Cardiff two years ago.
Having bounced back from their opening defeat to Scotland by beating Italy in Round 2, England know that another win against the unbeaten Welsh would put them right back in contention for the title.
And Mitchell explained exactly what the visitors will have to do if they are to emerge victorious from their trip to Principality Stadium.
He said: “They’re extremely competitive, it will require us to work really, really hard for each other as these games often go down to the wire. We’re really looking forward to it and showing what we’re capable of for the rest of the Six Nations.
“It’s one of those occasions that means a lot to both countries and players. Both countries have had sustained success but none of that really matters when it comes to playing against each other.”
While Wales struggled for results in 2020, including losses to England in both the Guinness Six Nations and the Autumn Nations Cup, they have bounced back well this year.
After seeing off Ireland at home in Round 1, they came from behind to win in Scotland a week later to sit second in the Guinness Six Nations table.
And Mitchell has been impressed by the way Wayne Pivac has instilled his philosophy on the team in his second year at the helm.
He added: “He’s been in the game a long time, you can clearly see his philosophy coming through of wanting to play the game at speed and move the ball. Like any good coach you’ve got to learn quickly at the highest level when you don’t get things right, and you’ve got to take your hat off to him because at the moment they’re playing really good rugby.”