Six Nations: Graham Rowntree says England must focus on victory, not title
Last Updated: 11/03/14 5:42pm
Graham Rowntree insists England must focus purely on beating Italy, rather than scoring a glut of tries in Rome on Saturday.
England remain in Six Nations title contention heading into the final weekend of the championship, but Ireland will almost certainly win the crown if they beat France in Paris because of their significant points advantage.
Should the Irish win, England must have prevailed at the Stadio Olimpico by at least 50 points to have any chance of seizing Wales' crown.
But forwards coach Rowntree insists that aiming for a huge victory with the title in mind could see England become unstuck against an experienced Italian side.
"The Italian outfit are a bit like France. They're not small - they're big guys and a lot of them are playing in France," he said.
"Not many teams go over there and push them around and they've had moments in this Six Nations. They're big men.
"There aren't many teams who have gone over there and smashed Italy. They just don't let you do that. In the last couple of games against them we've scored only one try in the two games."
"We'll have to play well on Saturday to beat them and that's all we're focusing on, beating them. A lot has been said about the scoreline, but we're going over there to beat them.
"There aren't many teams who have gone over there and smashed Italy. They just don't let you do that. In the last couple of games against them we've scored only one try in the two games.
"That tells you what they are like. I remember last year - they had a six-two bench, rolled fresh meat on and made it very hard for us. Very hard.
"We're going out there to win the game. We've not spoken about points difference. Let's do what we need to do to win the game. Everything else will take care of itself. I mean that."
Had England not conceded a late try to France in Paris, they would be heading to Rome contemplating a Grand Slam.
"You'd drive yourself mad thinking about things like that. You can't have regrets," Rowntree said.
"Now we look forward because we have enough on our hands this weekend."