By Kasey Rees
Wales flanker Justin Tipuric insists his Triple Crown chasers are level-headed ahead of their showdown against England on Saturday.
“We know we haven’t been playing at the top of our game and we know we have got a lot to improve on.” says the Ospreys captain.
“We are not a perfect team, but we are still winning games which shows we’re doing something right.
“Nobody likes losing but it is part of your career, so when you are winning you enjoy it more as a team. At the moment we are enjoying winning but we know we got a lot of work to do.”
After victories against Ireland and Scotland, Wales go into the fixture at the Principality Stadium as the only contenders for what would be a wholly unexpected Triple Crown.
The last time the teams met in Cardiff in the tournament was under Warren Gatland in 2019 on the way to their 12th Grand Slam title.
Wales secured an inspired 21-13 victory over the old enemy that day, in front of a sold-out noisy Cardiff crowd.
Justin Tipuric pic.twitter.com/7FRZW6VxaJ
— TheWelshDragon 🏴🐉 (@TheWelshDragon9) May 27, 2018
This time will be a little different for both sides, as they travel into the heart of the city without a red shirt – or red rose – in sight.
“It will be different going into the stadium without a crowd, but it has become the new normal now,” adds Tipuric
“We have got used to it at club level and in the autumn internationals, so you do get used to it.
“It will be a bit strange without the crowd as it’s up there with the one of the best fixtures of a player’s career to go up against England. It’s a big match with a huge history and no matter what is on the line it is a big game for us.”
So far, head coach Wayne Pivac’s men have produced mixed performances, but have discovered a happy knack of winning and came through unscathed against Ireland at home and then Scotland at Murrayfield.
The match against Scots saw glimpses of what Wales can do when they click into a gear as an attacking threat and Pivac will be hoping that weaponry is sharper still to open up England.
Pivac was without some of his 36-man squad through injuries and suspensions for the Scotland match, but now the situation has improved with players returning.
George North, Jonathan Davies, and Johnny Williams have returned to the mix, with Tomos Williams the only player unavailable with a hamstring injury.
Winger Josh Adams also returns after a two-match ban for breaching Covid-19 protocols.
Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau will continue their partnership in the back row, with Tipuric praising Faletau on his injury comeback.
“Toby is world class, and the back row is a position which you enjoy and gel together,” adds the Lions flanker.
“He’s had a tough time with injuries but that shows the character that he is. Some people go into a shell and be disappointed and angry with themselves.
“But he is the quiet guy who gets on with it and works hard, he’s the type of player who knows rugby inside out.
“When you are lucky enough to play with him a few times you learn what he is thinking.
“If you have got somebody like Toby beside you, you just try and give him in the ball in space and let him produce his magic.”
If Wales secure a 60th victory over England, they will be on course towards another Six Nations title and a one of the most unlikeliest ever Grand Slams.
“We have put ourselves in a good position for the tournament, but we will take one game at a time.” says Tipuric
“We know it’s going to be a tough game, as England are a world class team who know how to do the basics well.
“They know how to win a game of rugby so it will be a difficult game. But we know if we perform the basics well, we will be in with a chance of coming away with another win.”