No title means failure for Lancaster
Tue, 04 Mar 2014 08:53
we need to close the deal and win the tournament
England coach Stuart Lancaster has said anything less than winning the Six Nations would count as a failure for his side.
Each of Lancaster's two previous Championships have seen England finish runners-up to Wales - England's opponents at Twickenham on Sunday.
They remain the only major European side Lancaster has yet to enjoy a victory over and this weekend's clash has been given added spice by the fact it will be the last time the two nations meet at Twickenham before a potentially key pool match in next year's World Cup.
But it is the example of Wales that England hope to follow this season.
A heart-breakingly narrow 24-26 defeat by France in their opening match in Paris put paid to England's Grand Slam ambitions.
But Wales lost their first match of last season's Championship, to Ireland, only to take the title with four subsequent wins including a record 30-3 victory over Grand Slam-chasing England in Cardiff on the final day.
"I agree that we need to close the deal and win the tournament," Lancaster said.
"It was the objective at the outset to try to win the tournament.
"We didn't quite achieve what we wanted against France. That put us on the back foot.
"From that point on we've used Wales as motivation, after they lost their first game against Ireland last year but went on to win the title.
"In order to win a championship you have got to win four straight after losing the first. No-one has won a title on three wins.
"If we can get the win on Sunday, it's still within our capability," he added.
Lancaster is due to name his match-day 23 on Friday but fit-again centre Manu Tuilagi and wing Marland Yarde are unlikely to feature despite training with the squad this week following lengthy lay-offs caused by chest muscle and hip injuries respectively.
"They'd have to go some [to be selected] in the next couple of days, it's fair to say," Lancaster said.
"It's a big ask for Manu to come back having had such a long period out.
"He hasn't had any time with us in camp whatsoever, so Tuesday will be the first training session he's done since the Wales game last year."
|South African news|
|» Matfield: RWC not a two-horse race|
|» Nothing 'flash' about England|
|» Gold deal for Sharks|
|» Parisse hopes to end losing streak|
|» De Villiers keeps eye on World Cup|