Lions will be in players’ minds says Lancaster.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster says he can see Lions battles all over the park when his side face Wales on Saturday. [more]

Lions will be in players’ minds says Lancaster.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster says he can see Lions battles all over the park when his side face Wales on Saturday.

Lancaster’s troops travel to Cardiff in search of a first Championship clean sweep since 2003, with the background of the summer Lions tour to Hong Kong and Australia adding an even greater spice to what should be a truly memorable occasion.

And while Lancaster admits his thoughts are solely on securing a much sought-after Grand Slam, he knows the lure of the Lions will be in the back of players’ minds on both sides. 

“I have to say that it’s the furthest thing from my mind personally but I’m sure in the players’ minds, it’s in there,” said Lancaster, when asked to comment on the likely Lions battle between flankers Chris Robshaw and Sam Warburton.

“I don’t think it’s just in the back row, I think it’s everywhere.

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“All the players know that their own personal position depends on the team’s performance.

“Whether it’s the Welsh players or the English players, everyone’s efforts will be devoted to helping their team win.”

England will head to the Millennium Stadium in confident mood having backed up their stunning autumn demolition of the All Blacks with wins over Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy.

But Wales will enter the final round on a high, too, after bouncing back from eight straight defeats with a hat-trick of wins away from home in recent weeks.

Lancaster admits the Welsh have the edge in experience – 12 of Saturday’s starting line up began the Grand Slam success against France this time last year – but he insists his side won’t be travelling with trepidation given their own achievements since he took over from Martin Johnson in 2011.

"They come into game on back of three away wins which is great place to be," added Lancaster.

"They have a very experienced side, around about 600 caps to our 280-odd. They have played in big games and they closed out those Grand Slams (in 2005, 2008 and 2012).

"We go into the game with strong self belief. We’ve won four out of four in the Six Nations, which is a difficult tournament to win games in consistently, and we’ve got that New Zealand game as well.

"It will take an outstanding effort but we have done it before, we have been to away games and won. We’re pretty confident but very respectful of the opposition."

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