Six Nations: England's Rowntree plays down Welsh 'mind games'

Graham Rowntree takes England training
England last won the Six Nations in 2011
RBS Six Nations: Wales v England
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Date: Friday, 6 February Kick-off: 20:05 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC TV, HD, Red Button, Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport website, S4C online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV.

Wales' decision to name their team early for the Six Nations opener will not affect England's plans, according to forwards coach Graham Rowntree.

Friday's match will be England's first at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium since the 30-3 defeat in 2013, which cost them the Grand Slam.

Former Wales captain Gareth Thomas said coach Warren Gatland's early team announcement was "a mind game".

But Rowntree insisted Gatland's tactic "doesn't really affect what we do".

He added: "They can name their team whenever they want. We'll name our team on Wednesday, what difference does it make?"

Rowntree insists the side have learned lessons from their heavy defeat two years ago.

"Experiences like that are vital for players, and coaches, as long as you learn from them and move on and use them to your advantage. And believe me, we have done," he said.

Rowntree said he would be speaking to Dylan Hartley about his "clarity of thought" ahead of the game, admitting the experienced Northampton hooker was "under pressure" from his own disciplinary record.

"He doesn't go out there to be carded, he goes out there with clear jobs to do," said Rowntree. "I need to make sure this week he is thinking about those things again -concentrating about the things he has to do for our team, not everything else."

Six Nations: England injuries not troubling Stuart Lancaster

England have lost six players to injury in the past week, with tight-head prop David Wilson the latest to be ruled out, and will wait until after Wednesday's training session to name their starting line-up.

Second rows Dave Attwood, 27, and George Kruis, 24, will both start at the Millennium Stadium, with Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury and Geoff Parling all ruled out.

It will be Kruis' first appearance since early January after serving a three-week ban for a dangerous tackle.

"It's not as if George has been out for three months. These guys do plenty of fitness and there are other ways to keep fit, so I've got no qualms about his match fitness," said Rowntree.

Wales have made two changes from the side that beat South Africa 12-6 in November.

George North and Richard Hibbard both start, in place of Liam Williams and Scott Baldwin.

Despite some media claims, England trained as normal on Monday and not in front of loud speakers at full volume, designed to mimic the atmosphere at the Millennium Stadium.

Number eight Billy Vunipola does expect the Welsh crowd to make themselves heard, however.

"It's a challenge they lay down. You kind of have to take on all of them, not just the team," he said.

"You've just got to go out there and drown that out and play your game, try and get on the ball early and make sure they know they are in the contest.

"Once you do that, I think the crowd will quieten down a little bit and start to get on their backs rather than ours."

England's injury list
Ben Foden (knee - out for season), Manu Tuilagi (groin - could return next month), Kyle Eastmond (shoulder - will miss first Six Nations match), Brad Barritt (knee - will miss first Six Nations match), Owen Farrell (knee - out for whole Six Nations), Joe Launchbury (neck - could be fit by April), Courtney Lawes (ankle - could return mid-late February), Geoff Parling (knee - will miss opening Six Nations match), Ed Slater (knee - could be fit by April), Tom Wood (ankle - will miss first Six Nations match), Ben Morgan (leg - out for season), David Wilson (neck - will miss first Six Nations match)

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