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Rugby Tonight column: England must win the World Cup and Grand Slam to be considered one of the best sides ever, insists Ben Kay

BTSport.com asked 2003 World Cup winner and ex-Leicester Tigers star Ben Kay for his opinion on Saturday's heavyweight clash between England and Wales.

England face Wales in Cardiff on Saturday looking to make it three wins from three as they bid to wrest the Six Nations title back from Ireland.

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But where would that achievement rank and would a Six Nations victory elevate Eddie Jones’ side into the pantheon of great England teams?

BTSport.com asked 2003 World Cup winner and ex-Leicester Tigers star Ben Kay to give his opinion on that and other key issues ahead of Saturday’s Principality Stadium clash between England and Wales.

Jones’ men came in for criticism last season during a disappointing run of results which saw them sacrifice their Six Nations title after finishing fifth with just two victories.

But optimism is building once again after a landmark win over Ireland in Dublin to begin their Six Nations campaign and a 44-8 thrashing of France at Twickenham.

Kay believes it’s hard to compare sides from different eras of rugby but is in no doubt what Jones’ squad will have to achieve to be regarded as one of the great England teams – and a Grand Slam won’t cut it.

“I don’t think you can ever compare sides from different eras because the game changes and the game moves on,” he said.

“But I don’t think this Grand Slam - for people who want to make those comparisons - is what it’s all about. I think England have to win a World Cup to do that.”

Before England get ahead of themselves, they must see off a Wales side who have won 11 games in a row and Kay predicts a hostile reception for the visiting team.

“It’s certainly one of the most exciting grounds to play in and it’s my favourite ground to play in at the Six Nations because the stadium is so enclosed,” he told BTSport.com in an exclusive interview.

“You know you’re playing in Wales from the day you arrive there in a bus with a big red rose on the side. You know what you’re in for and that the whole of the Welsh nation is against you.”

England have won on their past two visits to the Principality Stadium, with 21-16 successes in 2017 and 2015, but Kay thinks Warren Gatland’s side won’t change their approach against England.

“Wales traditionally have stopped England by beating them at the breakdown and slowing down England’s ball,” added Kay.

“They enjoy making it very difficult for England to play the way they want to and I don’t think this Saturday will be any different.

“This time I think England have more answers in their armoury with the likes of Tom Curry and Mark Wilson, but the Welsh crowd will make sure England know it about it when the first big hit goes in.”

Kyle Sinckler has emerged as a key player for England since the retirement of Joe Marler. The prop was involved in an unsavoury incident two weeks ago when he was caught slapping France flanker Arthur Iturria on the top of his head.

The Harlequins tighthead has previously said he only knows how to play the game one way - “angry” – but is it a potential weakness Wales could target when he visits on Saturday?

“I think Wales will try and target him and wind him up mainly to get him off his game,” said Kay.

“He’s a fantastic player for a prop and for a big ball carrier he has unbelievably good hands.

“It makes him such a threat, so of course Wales will try and get an edge by trying to throw him off his game.

“But sometimes players like that, they like being wound up and they like playing right on the edge. As long as he stays on the field and doesn’t get any penalties I think Jones likes the fiery nature of his character.”

The Gallagher Premiership and Challenge Cup are shown exclusively live on BT Sport, the home of European and domestic rugby.

The BT Sport cameras will be at the Kingsholm on Friday evening to see Gloucester take on defending champions Saracens before visiting Sixways on Sunday afternoon to see Worcester Warriors host Kay’s former team Leicester.

Both Gallagher Premiership matches are available via the revolutionary enhanced video player on BTSport.com and on the award-winning BT Sport app, and for the first time ever, you can also watch the rugby on our new large screen app, available on Xbox, Samsung TV and Apple TV.

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