Andy Robinson has under-lined the importance of England gaining immediate momentum when they begin their assault on the RBS Six Nations silverware against defending champions Wales at Twickenham next week.

The World Cup holders can make a major statement of intent by stopping Welsh attempts for a second successive Grand Slam at the first hurdle.

Wales have not won at Twickenham since their Triple Crown season of 1988, and England will go into the game as firm favourites to extend that sequence.

England, though, have not exactly set the world alight in recent Six Nations seasons, winning just five of their last ten games in the tournament and slumping to an embarrassing fourth place a year ago.

"Any time an England team goes on the pitch, the expectation is there to win," said head coach Robinson.

"The important thing for us is beating Wales, starting the momentum and getting the ball rolling.

"If you look at what was achieved by Wales last season, they won by a kick in the last five minutes against us which enabled them to grow.

"For us, it created a little bit of instability and, from that, we stuttered through the championship, so it is important we get a win in this first game."

Wales have seen their preparations severely disrupted by injuries and suspension, with the likes of British & Irish Lions Gavin Henson, Ryan Jones and Tom Shanklin all absent from the match at Twickenham.

By contrast, Robinson's problems are minimal, although Bath centre Olly Barkley is out because of a dislocated thumb and Worcester flanker Pat Sanderson is battling to overcome a back injury.

Lawrence Dallaglio's return to the England fold some 17 months after he retired from international rugby has proved a major talking point, but Robinson was keen to emphasise the qualities of captain Martin Corry at yesterday's Six Nations launch in London.

Corry is set to lead England throughout the tournament, and Robinson's regard for the Leicester No 8 remains undiminished.

"The last two weeks, and the way Martin led the Leicester side in the Heineken Cup games in Stade Francais and Clermont Auvergne, shows how well he is performing and how well the team reacts to him under pressure," added Robinson.

"Certainly, as always, we are going to be under pressure in these games and it will need Martin's outstanding leadership and that of the other leaders to keep a cool head."

With Barkley out of the equation against Wales, England face a potential midfield crisis, given their lack of a cutting edge during the autumn Test.

Gloucester's Mike Tindall is likely to pin down one of the centre slots, but there is now a vacancy alongside him as in-form Barkley had been widely tipped to start against Wales.

"It is disappointing to lose Olly, who has been playing well, but that has been taken out of our hands," said Robinson.

"We've got Mike, Jamie (Noon) and James Simpson-Daniel, while it is great to have Stuart Abbott back and Josh Lewsey has also been playing in the centre.

"It is about getting the combination right."

England underlined their forward power during the autumn internationals, and if the backs can now start consistently converting some of that pressure into points then the world champions can conceivably find themselves heading to Paris in March for a title decider against France.

"The core of the squad is growing," said Robinson.

"Last season, we played well in games, but didn't have the consistency all the way through.

"The games we lost last year were lost at the end, but during the autumn internationals we finished strongly and that is how you develop winning teams."

England will be strong favourites to secure a Triple Crown this season, especially with Wales and Ireland visiting Twickenham and they will collect a newlycommissioned trophy if they achieve that feat.

RBS, who have signed a four-year extension to their sponsorship of European rugby's blue-riband event, have commissioned a silver dish which will be awarded to any country achieving a clean sweep of the other home nations.