Former Wales international Ceri Jones has warned his compatriots against their hubristic tendencies as they head to Twickenham this weekend, massive favourites to beat England.
Victory for Warren Gatland’s men will deliver a Triple Crown in double quick time, put them on course for a Grand Slam and justify their status as the coming force in international rugby.
Indeed Wales’s defiant win in Ireland and surgical dismemberment of Scotland compare extremely favourably with England’s pair of scratchy successes against the two worst sides in the competition.
But Worcester Warriors prop Jones believes the visitors will not steamroller England as the evidence of the tournament suggests they might and many pundits are predicting they will.
“I hope the Welsh don’t go up there over confident and think they are going to wipe the floor with them. I don’t think it’s going to be that sort of game,” the former Harlequins loosehead said.
“I know Chris Robshaw very well, he is a workhorse and he will tackle and tackle all day. With him leading that defensive line it will be rock solid so I think it will be a tighter game than many are saying it might be.
“I think Wales will win because they have got some outstanding players at the moment. George North has been so exciting, him running like he has been opens up space for people like Jamie Roberts to run through holes.
“And with that much strength and dynamism they will be looking at a win – but it will be closer than most people think.”
What is not up for debate, though, is the potency of the Welsh back-line, which is not only one of the biggest in the history of the principality, but might also develop into one of the best.
The pace and power of wingers North and Alex Cuthbert has been mirrored in the centres where Roberts and Jonathan Davies have run amok. Fly half Rhys Priestland and full back Leigh Halfpenny have gilded the cordon with some elusive running and accurate kicking with the effect that the Welsh are one of the most attractive sides in the world.
“Everyone in Wales just loves the fact that not only are they winning they are winning with style and they are playing the type of rugby that everyone loves to go and watch,” Jones said.
But he is not as dismissive of Embryonic England as some: “England are building slowly from a small foundation but there a lot of promise in that side. There are a lot of good players, they just need to go and express themselves.
“They almost look a little bit nervous at the moment and playing quite defensively. But it only takes one win and if they role Wales over and are suddenly three wins on the bounce people will be changing their opinions.”