Wales vs England: Chris Robshaw explains decision to wait in Millennium Stadium tunnel was to give England 'a bit of control'

England captain says his side were not going to be rushed in a move that echoed Martin Johnson 12 years ago

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The Independent Online

England captain Chris Robshaw responded to Welsh mind games in the tunnel moments before Friday's night's 21-16 RBS Six Nations victory in Cardiff by ordering his team-mates to stand their ground.

Stuart Lancaster's men had been told to run out on to the pitch but with Wales still in their changing room, they knew they would be kept waiting on a bitterly cold night at the Millennium Stadium.

In scenes that evoked memories of Martin Johnson's refusal to move his England team at Ireland's request as they lined up before completing a Grand Slam in Dublin 12 years ago, Robshaw told his players to remain in the tunnel.

 

"We wanted to have a bit of control. We didn't want to be out there. You saw when we actually were out there the lights were off," Robshaw said.

"I'm sure Wales would have made us wait for five minutes in the field. There was a little bit of that, but we stood our ground and went out when the referee said we needed to.

"We just didn't want to go out on to the pitch 10 minutes before they came out, it's as simple as that

"We didn't want to play any tricks or mind games, we just wanted to go out when they did.

"The referee didn't make us go out. We didn't want to wait and play sportsman's tricks, so we waited in the changing room and then in the tunnel together for as long as possible.

"When the referee said it was time to go, we went. He came out with us. We weren't going to be told to go out 10 or 15 minutes before they came out."

Robshaw was prominent as England faced down as swaggering Wales in a pulsating opening to the tournament, atoning for their 30-3 rout at the same venue two years ago.

Trailing 10-0 inside the opening 10 minutes, they responded with tries from Bath backs Anthony Watson and Jonathan Joseph and dominated the second half with their pack laying the groundwork for an emphatic victory.

"There's definitely a different vibe in the changing room this time. We spoke a lot about what happened when we beat them at Twickenham last year, not so much about what happened two years ago," Robshaw said.

"They're extremely strong at home and we knew the first 10 minutes would be tough. We went 10-0 down in the first 10 minutes and two years ago we would have crumbled again, but we stuck to the gameplan.

"We were pretty ruthless. We hunted them down. We knew the style of rugby they wanted to play. They have some big ball carriers."

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