Six Nations 2014: Davies ready to embrace hostility of Twickenham cauldron

 

The hatred may have waned but Jonathan Davies knows the rivalry runs just as deep between England and Wales.

During 104 years of cross-border duels, this fixture has come with its own safety warning. Never was that more the case than for the infamous battle of 1980 – reckoned by former hooker and current Wales team manager Alan Phillips as the "dirtiest" game he ever played.

England won 9-8 win thanks to Dusty Hare's injury-time penalty, though the game will always be remembered for Paul Ringer's red card.

There is little chance of the same skulduggery this weekend, given the phalanx of television cameras. Instead the hostility is channelled, the hits are harder and the aggression given direction.

"I'm sure it will be a hostile atmosphere at Twickenham and a few songs we will not be familiar with. It's going to be special," predicted Jonathan Davies, who steps into the cauldron after four months out injured. "These games are always heated. It's a fierce contest so we will have to find another level, even from the last game against France. There was a real edge and a physicality in the contact area then, but we will have to step it up again.

"The Twickenham factor has always been huge for England so it's fair that they're favourites. Perhaps in the past it has been a factor for Wales but we don't really look into that. We have been to tough places before and played in front of a crowd like that. You just embrace it because it makes winning even better."

Jack Nowell's assessment of the Welsh "hatred" towards England may resonate more with the supporters than players, though beating the old enemy remains just as enjoyable as Wales target a fourth successive win.

"Hate is a strong word. We got on great with the English lads on the Lions tour but we're passionate in Wales," said hooker Richard Hibbard.

The long-haired front-row has swiftly gained a reputation as a fearless competitor. His head-on clash with Joe Marler was among the abiding memories of last year's victory in Cardiff. That paved the way for British Lions selection and ultimately the Test jersey, aided by Dylan Hartley's suspension. "I met Dylan once with the Lions before he was banned. It was a shame because I was quite keen to see what goes on in his head," re-called Hibbard.

"He likes to get into people and sledge opponents but I'm usually oblivious to all that because I'm knackered. He has singled me out as one of Wales' ball-carriers. Well, happy days, because I love the physical side of the game."

Hibbard will be sandwiched between 196 caps of experience in Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins, who equals Stephen Jones' record as his country's most-decorated player on his 104th Test appearance. The scrum is an area Wales fancy their chances. Hibbard said: "Graham Rowntree will have worked on England's scrum but it's like a Rubik's Cube, you get close to working it out but it keeps changing."

Clearly what never changes is the rivalry in this fixture.

Saint AndrÉ rings the changes after rout

France coach Philippe Saint-André has made seven changes to his team for Saturday's Six Nations match against Scotland at Murrayfield.

The French will boast a fresh back row following their 27-6 loss to Wales with Sébastien Vahaamahina, Alexandre Lapandry and Damian Chouly brought in. Castres hooker Brice Mach comes in for the injured Dimitri Szarzewski.

Toulon centre Maxime Mermoz replaces the injured Wesley Fofana, who fractured a rib during the Welsh defeat, while Maxime Médard and Maxime Machenaud also start.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
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

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot