Six Nations 2014: Wales ready for England hostility, insists Davies
Six Nations 2014: Jonathan Davies insists Wales won't be fazed by a hostile Twickenham crowd on Sunday
Jonathan Davies insists Wales will be able to cope with the level of hostility expected at Twickenham for Sunday’s crunch Six Nations match.
The Scarlets centre, who returns to Wales’ starting line-up for the first time since going off injured against South Africa in November, believes his team-mates’ experience will see them through.
The Twickenham factor has always been a huge thing for them, so it’s fair enough for them to be favourites and stuff, but we don’t really look into that
“I think there is going to be a hostile environment, but we have been to big places before and played in front of a crowd like that,” Davies said.
“You have just got to embrace it. Playing in front of a big crowd like that will be amazing, and it will be even better if we get a victory.
“The Twickenham factor has always been a huge thing for them, so it’s fair enough for them to be favourites and stuff, but we don’t really look into that.
“We just have to make sure we prepare well, we need to know the game-plan for what we want to achieve and when we go out there we have to execute it, so we don’t really look at who’s favourite.”
With two wins and one defeat from their opening three matches of the championship, Wales need a win against England to keep their title hopes alive and hope other results go their way to have a chance of retaining their crown.
But their focus is on a good performance at HQ.
“We are reliant on other teams doing us a favour, but we just need to concentrate on our own performances and make sure we put enough pressure on the rest of the teams. Hopefully, they will slip up, and we are there to slip in the back door,” Davies added.
England have opted not to risk Manu Tuilagi despite the Leicester Tigers centre coming through 70 minutes of Aviva Premiership action.
But Wales are happy to risk Davies at 13 after with few natural options available after he came through 65 minutes against high-flying Munster in the Pro12 last weekend.
“I have had a few months off, so I feel pretty fresh at the moment,” Davies said.
“[The injury] was frustrating, but it’s part and parcel of the game. The best way to handle it, for me personally, was just to think that’s how it is and concentrate on getting back fit.
“You want to test yourself at the highest level and be involved in big game atmospheres playing in front of big crowds, and it is going to be like that on Sunday.
“You have got to get excited about it and make sure you do everything you can to put yourself in the position for victory.”
Wales may have the upper hand over England from their recent encounters, but Davies isn’t taking a win for granted despite his colleagues putting in a big shift against France last time out.
“I thought the performance against France was fantastic,” he added. “There was a real edge and a physicality in the contact area and we were able to have quick ball.
“We know on Sunday that we will have to step it up again. These games are always heated, a fierce contest, so there is another level to take it up.
“I thought England played really well against Ireland. Ireland were on a good run and at Twickenham they shut the door on them and closed the game out.
“They were probably unlucky against France, so they are a good team. They’ve matured the last couple of years and we are expecting a tough test.”