Six Nations: Dave Attwood says England do not fear the big name players in the Wales side
Last Updated: 01/02/15 11:00pm
Lock Dave Attwood says England will not be intimidated by the big names in the Wales line-up when the two sides meet in the RBS 6 Nations opener.
This year’s tournament gets underway in Cardiff on Friday night and Wales are sure to be fielding a host of British and Irish Lions, including some of the biggest names in European rugby.
England, for their part, will bid to avenge the crushing 30-3 defeat they suffered at the Millennium Stadium in 2013 with a squad ravaged by injuries.
And the 27-year-old Attwood finds himself England’s senior man in the second row, following injuries to Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury and Geoff Parling.
However, the Bath man says there is no way he and his team mates will be in awe of the likes of George North, Jamie Roberts, Sam Warburton and Alun Wyn Jones.
"Across the field, Wales have some tremendous players," said Attwood.
"There are a lot of guys who will stand up and be counted when their backs are against the wall. That's the challenge we're facing.
"We may be fresh-faced in comparison to plenty of those guys but, if you get dazzled by the starlight, you get nowhere.
It's not going to a case of trying to weather the Welsh storm at all, we will go there with our own intensity. It's going to be a challenge but it's one we're extremely keen to meet.
"You have to treat them as normal blokes, who play rugby the same as you. Then it becomes a bit more of a level playing field."
England have conducted some of their training sessions at Pennyhill Park with loudspeakers set at top volume in an effort to replicate the raucous atmosphere they are likely to face.
The Wales fans are certain to be in full voice but Attwood says he will not be fazed.
"I find it not desperately helpful to get absorbed in the sideshow,” he said.
“Obviously it's incredibly loud and passionate, and every Welsh person you speak to for 30 years will talk about the outcome.
"It means so much to them and, particularly growing up where I did in North Bristol, close to the border, that was perhaps more evident than in a lot of other places.
"I'm well aware of it but I don't feel it helps me get my head in the right place to play rugby.
"I know some guys get a feed off the emotional buzz you get when you're on the bus on the way to the stadium and there are people shouting and throwing things.
"It's a great spectacle for the sport, it's unbelievably passionate, and it's what you want to see but, in terms of preparing yourself to play, it's not something I find particularly useful.
"Wales will come out with all guns blazing as they always do. I'm sure it's going to be a pretty ferocious Test match.
"It's not going to a case of trying to weather the Welsh storm at all, we will go there with our own intensity. It's going to be a challenge but it's one we're extremely keen to meet."