Rugby

Wales coach Alex King demands ‘no fear’ approach to England showdown

Wales have not won a Six Nations game at Twickenham since 2012.

Wales assistant coach Alex King wants a ‘no fear’ approach
Alex King Wales assistant coach Alex King wants a ‘no fear’ approach (David Davies/PA)

Alex King believes Wales need to have a “no fear” approach when they face England at Twickenham on Saturday.

Wales last toppled their fierce rivals in a Six Nations game on English soil 12 years ago.

And they have lost on seven successive occasions at English rugby headquarters since beating England there during the 2015 Rugby World Cup, although five of those losses were by only six points or less.

Wales will head to south west London after coming unstuck in a Cardiff classic against Scotland, although 26 unanswered points from being 27-0 adrift meant they almost completed the biggest comeback the Six Nations has seen.

England, meanwhile, were pushed hard by Italy in Rome before recording a 27-24 verdict after trailing at half-time and being outscored on tries.

“They (England) have got a decent team – finishing third at the World Cup is testament to that,” Wales assistant coach and former Wasps fly-half King said.

“I think we need to show a no-fear game going down there, and put the pressure back on them.

Scott Williams scored Wales’ winning try against England at Twickenham in 2012
Scott Williams Scott Williams scored Wales’ winning try against England at Twickenham in 2012 (David Jones/PA)

“We’ve just got to take the game to England. We can’t wait for them to see what they do, especially with 70,000 people shouting for them.

“We have got to present ourselves as we want to play, and not wait to see what England can do before we start responding.

“It is important to show the lads that England are a good team, but they are not unbeatable. That is the reality.

“They have obviously got good players and they are well-coached, but Twickenham is just another stadium. I am looking forward to going back there. I’ve got my Welsh hat firmly on there.

“They won some important games at the World Cup, and they pushed South Africa close. They won some close games at the World Cup – they were able to get over the finish line in certain games.

“Like every team, they have got their weaknesses. It is up to us to exploit them on Saturday.”

Wales boss Warren Gatland, meanwhile, will have to make at least one change from the Scotland match as flanker James Botham has been released from the squad due to a knee injury.

Botham, who is the grandson of England cricket great Sir Ian Botham and scored Wales’ opening try against Scotland, will rehabilitate at his club Cardiff.

Botham’s Cardiff colleague Seb Davies has been added to the squad, while experienced Harlequins prop Dillon Lewis also gains a call-up.

Elsewhere, fly-half Sam Costelow went off before half-time in the Scotland encounter, and King added: “He is being assessed for a neuro issue with his neck.

“The positive thing is it wasn’t a concussion. He is up for selection, but it is a question of whether he gets through his medical protocols.”

Ex-Bristol back Ioan Lloyd, who replaced Costelow with impressive effect against Scotland, would be favourite to wear the number 10 shirt if a change is made.

Aaron Wainwright scored one of Wales’ four tries against Scotland
Aaron Wainwright Aaron Wainwright scored one of Wales’ four tries against Scotland (Joe Giddens/PA)

“Twickenham this weekend is a place where we need to start well. We have been very honest in our review, and are moving forward,” King said.

“The pleasing thing is we came out and responded (against Scotland) and were magnificent. It’s a shame we couldn’t nail the victory with the momentum of the last 10 minutes.

“The attitude of the boys was spot-on. Now we have to use that to go to Twickenham.

“The boys showed huge character, and it was frustrating not to win in the end. But if we are honest, we can’t have a half like that at Twickenham.”