Mike Tindall says Wales victory could prove pivotal
Mike Tindall believes Friday night's victory over Wales could go down as one of the seminal moments in England's development towards the World Cup and beyond.
England had not won at the Millennium Stadium since 2003 and ended that barren run with a 26-19 triumph, secured with two tries from Chris Ashton and Toby Flood's faultless kicking display.
The tournament is now set up perfectly for England to challenge for the RBS 6 Nations title, with successive home fixtures against Italy, France and Scotland before a trip to Ireland on the last weekend.
But Tindall warned England all their efforts in Cardiff will go to waste if they allow their standards to slip against the Azzurri on Saturday.
"That was a great win. You hope it will be an important win in the team's development - but we mustn't get ahead of ourselves," said Tindall, who captained England for the first time on Friday.
"We have to use the win as a stepping stone. Yes, there will be more expectation as we are at home but that comes from ourselves as well.
"Italy won't come to Twickenham and lie down to let us win. We have to demand performances from ourselves.
"We don't want to win ugly and scrape through. We want to win with the brand of rugby we have put out there over the last 6-8 months.
"If we do that we believe we will beat teams."
In last year's championship England did scrape an ugly victory over the Italians in Rome - and it proved to be a watershed game.
England's attitude soon changed and their fortunes have been on the rise ever since, helped by the injection of youthful new blood into the team.
The likes of Flood, Ben Youngs, Ben Foden, Chris Ashton, Courtney Lawes and Tom Palmer have all become key members of the England side.
That new attitude means England's players will gather back at their training base today expecting a "few rollockings" from manager Martin Johnson, despite their victory.
"You don't get better by patting yourselves on the back too much," said Johnson.
For those players who were involved in last year's Six Nations, that is a welcome development.
"In the last Six Nations we painted over a few cracks rather than addressed the problems," said number eight Nick Easter.
"We beat Wales convincingly at home, won in Italy and thought we were there. We didn't win a game after that.
"We realised we weren't really on the right track in certain aspects - and one of those was the honesty calls.
"It's a big shift of approach but that's what you must do. You have to be brutally honest.
"If you want to be the best in the world - and nobody's hiding from the fact that we do - we're going to have to iron out our problems."
A re-run of Ireland's narrow escape against Italy on Saturday should be enough to reinforce the message that England cannot ease off.
Ireland were not at their best and only escaped Rome with a 13-11 victory courtesy of a 78th-minute Ronan O'Gara drop-goal.
"Italy are very awkward and tough. They keep the ball away from you, they don't concede a lot of points and they are a pretty good team," said Johnson.
"It is important we get the mindset right."
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