Josh Navidi has told his Wales teammates to put on their hard hats and prepare for a war of words before they face England next weekend.
The Wales flanker believes it is vital Warren Gatland’s team need to concentrate on themselves and ignore the babble from outside.
England coach Eddie Jones has already started to fire some bullets from over the border – designed, most likely, to mess with Welsh minds rather than inflict any serious flesh wounds.
After victory over France, Jones described their next opponents as probably the best Wales team of all time – a description likely to raise an eyebrow with anyone capable of historical perspective that extends as far back as the 1970s.
For Cardiff Blues back row forward Navidi, it is all about simply keeping the momentum going as they head towards a clash in Cardiff which could well decide this year’s Guinness Six Nations title.
Wales face their fiercest rivals in 13 days’ time on the back of equalling a winning run that has stood for 109 years.
While Saturday’s 26-15 victory over Italy in Rome proved an often laboured stop-start affair, a much-changed Wales team ultimately got the job done.
Tries by wing Josh Adams and centre Owen Watkin, plus fly-half Dan Biggar’s accurate goalkicking, saw Wales post an 11th successive victory stretching back to last season’s tournament.
1⃣1⃣ With eleven consecutive victories, Wales have now broken their record in the professional era. Watch how they achieved it yesterday in Rome. Cyflawniad arbennig gan y tîm. #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/mbhPmhdjBW
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) February 10, 2019
While England will pose an altogether tougher examination – they have beaten Wales five times on the bounce in Six Nations action – Navidi and company know they can make history and stay on a Grand Slam course by winning at the Principality Stadium.
“The England game is going to get hyped up a lot, but we need to just focus on ourselves,” Wales number eight Navidi said.
“We were disappointed with the performance (against Italy), but a win is a win.
“We know that we have got a lot of things to work on to be prepared for England.
“We know where we are at, and now we’ve got a big couple of weeks to build into the England game. We need to improve and keep the momentum going.”
Wales head coach Warren Gatland made 10 changes for the Stadio Olimpico encounter, handing Six Nations debuts to Leicester wing Jonah Holmes and Wasps flanker Thomas Young, while scrum-half Aled Davies and back-row forward Aaron Wainwright made first Six Nations starts.
And he has no doubt it was the right selection path to follow, having taken 31 players on last week’s training camp in Nice at the start of World Cup year.
Gatland said: “For us, there is a bigger picture that we were looking at for the first two games (against France and Italy).
“That was having the opportunity to get away for a week with a squad of 31 and replicating what might happen at the World Cup.
“If this was a normal year, on reflection, maybe we wouldn’t have made so many changes, but we wanted to give everyone in the 31 an opportunity to be involved in the first two games.”
Gatland will hope to have a full selection hand available for England when Wales target breaking the record of 11 victories set between 1907 and 1910. On that occasion, it was ended by England.
“We didn’t speak about the record at all this week, but we will probably talk about it before England,” Gatland added.
“If this group of players achieve that, it will be something nobody can take away from them.
“We’ve got a chance, we are at home, the stadium will be full, it will be some atmosphere at the Principality Stadium.
“There will definitely be no lack of motivation in trying to beat England and break that record.”