WITH Saturday’s massive RBS Six Nations opener with Scotland fast approaching, England boss Stuart Lancaster has told the Wakefield Express that he is confident that his new-look team can handle the pressure at Murrayfield.
The Calcutta Cup clash is sure to be a baptism of fire for interim head coach Lancaster but also for his 22-man squad, named tomorrow, Thursday, in which no fewer than eight players could make their debut.
However, the former Wakefield RFC player and Kettlethorpe High School PE teacher is undaunted by the challenge ahead of him, saying: “It is a big step to get into the international environment but we are handing experience to the right players.
“We are trying to build a team with some longevity and strong foundations. There is a huge amount of potential [in the squad] and the Six Nations will develop that experience.”
However, Lancaster also recognises the size of the task ahead of him on Saturday as England kick-off the defence of their RBS Six Nations title. He said: “It is a big game in lots of ways.
“There will be pressure but I am confident in the players.
“We will be dealing with the emotion and passion that the Scots bring to the table and we will need to match that intensity.
“But it’s also about matching their skill and Scotland are an experienced, organised side who defend well and have good ball carriers up front.”
The build-up to the game has been typically fiery with Scotland boss Andy Robinson reportedly drawing on English arrogance to motivate his players but Lancaster is not getting involved, saying: “It is in my nature not to get drawn in.
“There are lots of people with opinions but we are focused on what we can control and everyone in the squad is focused on their roles.”
Read the full interview with Stuart Lancaster in Friday’s Wakefield Express.