Six Nations 2015: Stuart Lancaster on the 'inner-sanctum' of Twickenham

England head-coach discusses the home of English rugby

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The Independent Online

England kick-start their RBS Six Nations campaign against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Friday evening.

For head coach Stuart Lancaster it serves as the perfect opportunity to lay down a marker going into the tournament and ahead of the World Cup later this year.

LIVE: Wales vs England

But England's first home test of the calendar year will come against Italy on February 14th and Lancaster is particularly relishing the build-up to Twickenham.

The 45-year-old took on the role of head coach in 2011 and immediately set about reconnecting his players with the Twickenham public.

Lancaster initiated a pre-match tradition whereby his squad alights from the team bus before the Lion Gate and march towards the players' entrance through great crowds of supporters.

A view of Twickenham Stadium


But it is once they get beyond the entrance to Twickenham - 90 minutes prior to kick-off - that the real preparation begins.

"You come into a very private, inner-sanctum," Lancaster said.

"You arrive an hour and a half before kick-off and then the players have got an hour before we go out for the team warm-up.

"You come back in and you wait. You're emotionally trying to calm yourself down and make sure you're thinking clearly.

"[During the anthems] You look across the number of people in the stadium and the awareness of the people watching at home. That's the moment when the enormity of the job and responsibility lands on your shoulders."

Watch the video below as Lancaster lifts the lid on the build-up to a Six Nations game at the home of rugby...