Six Nations: Wales 'will deserve a beer' if they beat England says coach Rob Howley

Wales play England in Cardiff tomorrow

Wales boss Rob Howley has no doubt his players will “deserve a beer” if they complete a stunning transformation from opening weekend flops to RBS 6 Nations champions.

It is just six weeks ago that Wales trailed Ireland by 27 points at home with almost half the game left.

But when Wales return to the Millennium Stadium tomorrow for Grand Slam-chasing England's visit, it will be on the back of three successive away wins and harbouring a realistic title chance, despite that 30-22 loss to Ireland.

Wales have not successfully defended the Five or Six Nations crown since 1979, yet a minimum eight-point victory this weekend would guarantee they achieve that feat.

A seven-point margin would also be enough - provided they stay ahead of unbeaten England on tournament try-count - to wilt the red rose.

"The players have been absolutely fantastic over the last five weeks and have put themselves in a position (to challenge for the title), after regaining momentum," Howley said.

"They will deserve a beer on Saturday night if that happens."

Howley, meanwhile, has again put the team dynamic before individuals with his choice of captain for tomorrow's clash.

Howley has appointed Toulon prop Gethin Jenkins as the third different Wales skipper of this season's Six Nations campaign after Sam Warburton and Ryan Jones.

Jones broke a bone in his shoulder during last weekend's victory over Scotland, and he is replaced in the back row by Justin Tipuric, with Warburton wearing Wales' number six shirt.

Howley has decided for a second successive game not to reinstall Warburton - last season's Grand Slam skipper - as captain, preferring instead to let him concentrate on his own game.

That approach worked a treat at Murrayfield six days ago when Warburton delivered a towering man-of-the-match display.

"I spoke to Sam," Howley added. "I think as a coach you have a gut feeling about a player and how he feels, and you always take a player's form into consideration.

"With Sam, the way he played against Scotland, the gut feeling was that I would rather he focused on his own game.

"That is how I saw it, and you have to make those difficult decisions when they come. It is in the best interests of the national team to be best prepared for England this weekend that Gethin Jenkins captains this side."

High on Wales' agenda tomorrow will be getting their penalty count back into single figures following the dozen conceded against Scotland.

With a marksman as accurate as Owen Farrell in the opposition ranks, it is vital Wales do not get on the wrong side of match referee Steve Walsh.

"Your (penalty) target is under 10. The history of the game suggests that if your penalty count is around that area, you are going to go on and win the game," Howley added.

"It is about the unity and trust you have as a team, and I speak to the players about not solving problems on their own, but solving them together.

"They have shown over the last five weeks they have the unity and trust and discipline within the group."


Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
voicesBy the man who has
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
newsFloyd 'Creeky' Creekmore still performed regularly to raise money for local hospitals
indybestKeep extra warm this year with our 10 best bedspreads
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?