Johnson urges England to feed off animosity

Martin Johnson has steeled England for the most hostile RBS 6 Nations reception of them all ahead of Friday night's Millennium Stadium showdown with Wales.

England have not won in Cardiff since Johnson was captain in 2003, and he has warned his squad they will not experience a more fervent anti-English sentiment anywhere else in the championship.



Potentially a third of England's starting team - including the likes of Ben Youngs, Ben Foden and Dan Cole - will be playing a Test at the Millennium Stadium for the first time.



Johnson urged England to feed off that animosity and use it to kick-start their bid for a first Six Nations title since the Grand Slam in 2003.



"Being an Englishman in Cardiff on that weekend means you aren't the most popular, which is great. I'd rather have that than polite indifference," said Johnson.



"The Millennium is a great place to play - the most hostile in the Six Nations for an Englishman.



"The stadium being in the middle of Cardiff. It is all very tight with a good bus journey. They want to beat England at rugby - that is not a secret and we want to win down there.



"It is a great occasion for an Englishman to go to Cardiff and play. The opening game of the tournament in a World Cup year adds something.



"You have to enjoy it. You want to play in the big games. We have to be ready."



Johnson's message has certainly hit home.



Northampton wing Chris Ashton, who will play his first Test in Cardiff, is relishing the opportunity of stepping into the Welsh dragon's lair.



It was the prospect of nights like Friday at the Millennium Stadium that persuaded him to switch from rugby league in 2007.



"It was a massive part of it. This doesn't happen in rugby league. You don't get these kind of games. It's massively exciting, I can't wait," said Ashton.



"Listening to what Johnno says, I'm just so excited about the prospect."



Ashton got a taste of what he can expect in Northampton's fiery Heineken Cup encounters against the Cardiff Blues.



"They were two hard games. That's what you get when you play a team like Cardiff. I'd like to think when a game is finished the game is finished," Ashton added.



"This week it's Wales v England so there's enough bad blood there for it to spark over anyway.



"We didn't get a good start in the autumn, when we let ourselves down against New Zealand. We don't want to do that again.



"We don't want a slow start and this is the perfect chance and place to get going."



Ashton's stunning end-to-end try against Australia in November was today named as the the International Rugby Players' Association try of the year for 2010.



Wales wing Shane Williams, who is set to start opposite Ashton on Friday night, was among those to be nominated for the award.



"It is good to beat a player of his calibre but I'm not concentrating too much on the try of the year award - I'd rather get a try over him on Friday night," said Ashton, who is confident he can handle the weight of expectation.



"I just want to concentrate on being the best player in my position. Tries like that may come on the odd day. Hopefully one more will come on Friday."



England are set to be captained by Mike Tindall, although Johnson will not confirm his selection until the team announcement on Wednesday.



Tindall returned to training today after a thigh injury forced him home from last week's training camp in Portugal, and Johnson is confident Hendre Fourie will be available after a calf strain.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition