- Fly half believes England must up the ante physically
- Lancaster's side also looking to tighten up execution
To stand any chance of victory over Wales in Cardiff and therein secure a first Grand Slam since 2003, England must add a level of aggression to their game not yet seen in this year’s RBS 6 Nations.
That’s the view of fly half Toby Flood, whose six from six kicking display finally extinguished the hopes of an impressive Italy side inspired by the inexorable energy and physicality of back row pair Alessandro Zanni and Sergio Parisse.
The 27-year-old was man-of-the-match the last time England played Cardiff in 2011, laying on two tries for wing Chris Ashton with languid breaks and long-levered offloads and kicking 13 points in the 26-19 victory.
Allied to the need for a total adherence to the tactics, Flood says immense physicality is a prerequisite for any win away in Wales.
He said: “It’s about being good in terms of making sure your set piece is right and making sure you understand tactically what you need to do to win the game, understand how they’re going to approach the game and dealing with that.
“And also bringing a huge level of aggression, which is what we did in 2011. We started that tournament really well in terms of our aggression levels and where that could take us.
“We understand the connotations of the game, we understand the crowd and what they bring, but we have to manage that – there won’t be a single player in our team that isn’t up for it.
“The way Wales are playing at the moment they’ll see it as a big, big opportunity. We need to make sure we’re precise, we get it right, otherwise we could get hurt.”
Flood described the 18-11 victory over Italy as job done in terms of the result but admitted England were disappointed with their execution at times, especially late in the first half.
He believes taking one of the overlaps that were created would have fundamentally changed the game and allowed England to stretch Italy in the second half, a lesson they must take forward.
Calling for more accuracy as a team, Flood added: “We’re pleased to have done the job and got it right in terms of the result, but there was a large part of that game where we weren’t clinical or precise enough to really open them up. Ultimately, if we had been more precise in that first half we could’ve been further ahead and then that would stretch the game a bit more.
“It got a bit tight, it got a bit edgy, but we managed to get through it, so credit to the guys.
“We knew Italy would defend well for the first 20 minutes but we felt that if we kept probing and kept looking they would break. Just before half time there were a couple of chances and if we’d taken them it would’ve been a different situation, but these things happen, we’ll get on with it, review and move on to next week.”