Pape, Brown highlight England threat

23 January 2013 19:19

England's shock win over New Zealand in December has the other five countries involved in Europe's premier international rugby competition wary of the All Black-slayers.

Speaking at the launch for the Six Nations on Wednesday, Pape argued England are the clear favourites despite Wales having completed their second grand slam in five years in the 2012 tournament.

"No, the favourite this year is England for sure, especially after their huge win against the All Blacks this year," Pape said.

Brown, who will lead Scotland against England at Twickenham in their opening game of the Six Nations, is under no illusions about how hard the trip to London will be.

"Certainly with the first game in England, I don't feel there's a lot of pressure on us," Brown said.

"Scotland haven't won down here in thirty years, the English are coming off the back of an absolutley fantastic showing against the All Blacks but as a squad we're pretty stubborn and we're really looking forward to the challenge."

Meanwhile, Ireland's skipper Jamie Heaslip and Welsh captain Sam Warburton have emphasised the importance of momentum in the Six Nations ahead of their tournament opener in Cardiff.

"A great phrase my old coach Alan Gaffney used to tell me is 'you can't win a Grand Slam on day one, but you can definitely lose it'," Heaslip said.

"I think the Six Nations is such a great competition, that the first game is a huge game in terms of building momentum and setting down a tone for the tournament.

"We're very focused on that first game, it's a massive challenge.

"Wales have beaten us the last three times we've played."

Warburton's experience from last year's grand slam means he agrees with Heaslip's comments.

"We know first-hand how important momentum is," Warburton said.

"In the Six Nations you turn up week after week and if you do win, you win the first, second and third week, you still feel the pressure because you have to win but it does make it a little bit easier (at) training and it's a much more enjoyable place to turn up to."

Latest news

22 May 2018


21 May 2018