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Wales skipper demands back-row improvement ahead of England test

WALES captain Sam Warburton has warned his players that they will have to raise the bar if they are to derail England’s Grand Slam charge.

Warburton stressed that the Welsh forwards will have to be more efficient at the breakdown, despite having conceded fewer turnovers than any other side in the championship.

“We’ve left our ball carriers a little bit isolated too many times and we’ve given teams some easy turnovers,” said the Wales skipper.

“So I think for us there’s going to be a big emphasis on making sure we get in support a lot quicker to our ball carriers and hopefully nullify that threat.”

Many experts have predicted that the visitors will hold an advantage at the breakdown given that the English don’t employ a traditional seven in their back-row.

 

Warburton gets set for explosive back-row battle

Warburton gets set for an explosive battle

However, Warburton was quick to point out the collective efficiency of England’s work at the breakdown.

The 27-year-old said: “Watching guys like James Haskell who is very strong, wrapping up guys the same as Billy and a lot of their front five forwards.

“So they have got threats over the ball like Chris Robshaw and Dan Cole, so I do think that they cover the bases there.”

Between 1978 and 2008 Wales went 20 years without a victory at Twickenham, with strong Welsh sides having been sent back over the bridge with their tails between their legs.

However, times change with all but one of the starting Welsh fifteen on Saturday having tasted victory at the home of English rugby.

“I really enjoy playing at Twickenham,” said Warburton.

“I’ve always said it’s probably my favourite away ground to play in.

“I think the atmosphere is always great and you can always sense the hype the week of the match including a busier press conference like today.”

Warburton has already won twice at Twickenham in his career with both victories having been decided by seven and three points respectively.

And the Welsh skipper fully expects the latest instalment of this historic rivalry to be just as close.

“It’s probably going to be another game where there’s only a score in it that’s it,” he said.

“It could be a moment of brilliance from someone of either team which is going to separate the two sides. So two very evenly matched teams and for the neutral it will be a great game.”

 

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