England assistant John Mitchell has turned the temperature up ahead of his team’s Autumn Nations Cup assignment next Saturday in Wales, a match that Eddie Jones’ side are favoured to win comfortably despite losing their previous two away Welsh encounters in Cardiff.

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The English came unstuck twice in 2019, losing Six Nations and pre-World Cup fixtures at the Principality and while this weekend’s game is going ahead behind closed doors at Llanelli, Mitchell believes there will likely be enough distractions to deal with from the Wales players without the usual boisterous crowd present.

“We have to walk towards the challenge,” said Mitchell during media duties before England cut their squad for the round three game to 25, a selection showing four changes from last week’s 25 against Ireland with Ollie Lawrence, Ollie Thorley, Tom Dunn and Lewis Ludlam stepping away and being replaced by Anthony Watson, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Joe Marler and Jack Willis.

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Sam Underhill on England’s defensive masterclass versus Ireland

“Be ready for anything and adapt to anything. They will have a way to try and distract and disrupt us and we look forward to that. It is really no surprise to anyone – they have always had a crack at Ben Youngs, at Owen (Farrell).

“They went hard at (Kyle) Sinckler a couple of times we have been down there. They clearly target people. They look to create individual distractions and then try to take away some of the key components to our ways of creating pressure.

“We’re ready for anything, to be fair, so we expect that again. That’s just the way they play, so we have just got to be ready for it, don’t we? I wouldn’t say they are dirty tricks. That is just clever, smart ways of trying to take something away from a side.

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“Ultimately, a better way to sum it up is they try to make you uncomfortable, which is what we try to do to them as well. We’re looking forward to whatever they throw at us.

“As you progress, you can always expect that somebody is going to try to take something away from you and it’s important to acknowledge that and be pretty clear on what may happen. Then you have the ability to adapt a lot quicker should those situations arise.”

With England unbeaten in their last six games and recently crowned 2020 Six Nations champions, Mitchell believes they are getting better at handling intimidatory tactics. “We work very hard and have excellent staff and experts within the staff who work very closely with the team in that area.

“It is something that, over time, we are getting better at and we are continuing to learn in terms of the maturity of the senior players in that area and their understanding around that.

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“The key to it is being honest as you can about what you can expect. Like any person, they do not really want to hear those things sometimes. The great thing about where we are heading is we are very open-minded in that area in understanding what may come and what may be taken away from us.

“Research informs us that the earlier you understand, then you have the ability to adapt a lot quicker when it does happen. It is about us getting on with our own game and applying pressure where necessary. We want to win every game and win the Autumn Nations Cup, that’s our goal.”

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