LONDON: England regained a measure of self-respect earlier than failing to disclaim Eire a Six Nations Grand Slam however underlying points nonetheless confront Steve Borthwick’s males simply months out from the September begin of the Rugby World Cup.
There had been fears England would endure a recent mauling in Dublin on Saturday following final week’s humiliating and file dwelling 53-10 defeat by World Cup hosts France at Twickenham.
England, nevertheless, had been vastly extra resilient at Lansdowne Highway, a sign they had been attending to grips with the strategies of defence coach Kevin Sinfield.
They had been properly within the sport at simply 10-6 behind when full-back Freddie Steward was despatched off on the stroke of half-time for making contact with the pinnacle of Eire counterpart Hugo Keenan.
However a mixture of the person drawback and the hosts’ high quality advised as Eire finally sealed a 29-16 win.
Sadly for England, having proven some much-needed cohesion, this was their final aggressive match earlier than they open their World Cup marketing campaign towards Argentina — who defeated them at Twickenham throughout final 12 months’s Autumn marketing campaign — in Marseille on September 9.
Constructing what we need to construct
A lot can occur earlier than then, not least accidents to key personnel, with England captain Owen Farrell telling ITV: “We have got to return to our golf equipment and work laborious to turn into higher gamers in order that after we do get again we is usually a higher staff.
“The subsequent time we come collectively we get a great period of time collectively so we will work on constructing on what we need to construct.”
The Eire defeat meant 2003 world champions England ended a 3rd successive Six Nations with solely two wins from 5 video games.
It made the choice to finish the seven-year England reign of veteran coach Eddie Jones in December after which set up Borthwick all of the extra baffling.
Jones, who guided England to a 2019 World Cup last defeat by South Africa, has a nice file on the showpiece match and, due to an absurdly lopsided draw, his outdated aspect might but make it to the semi-finals with out enjoying a staff ranked increased than seventh within the rankings.
Had former England captain Borthwick, who final season guided Leicester to the Premiership title, succeeded teaching mentor Jones after the World Cup he would have had a clear slate relatively than the messy scenario he inherited as an alternative.
However teaching appointments, or whether or not Owen Farrell or Marcus Smith begins at fly-half, can’t disguise extra elementary issues, specifically considerations in regards to the energy and tempo of England’s pack.
Each Eire and France have additionally seen their youth methods produce much more top-class gamers lately, with the Irish Beneath-20s bidding for a Grand Slam of their very own on Sunday towards an England staff hammered 42-7 by their French counterparts final trip.
This season has additionally seen two Premiership groups Wasps and Worcester expelled from the Premiership after going bust, with golf equipment in Eire and France — the world’s top-ranked rugby nations — much more intently aligned with the search for World Cup glory.
It could have been asking an excessive amount of of English rugby’s decision-makers to carry their nerve after England’s first-round exit on dwelling soil on the 2015 World Cup, however the Irish have nonetheless benefitted from the transfer by their outdated rivals to ditch Andy Farrell, now Eire’s head coach and assistant Mike Catt.
Stuart Lancaster, England’s boss on the 2015 World Cup, and Graham Rowntree have additionally turn into key figures in Irish provinces Leinster and Munster respectively.
“A whole lot of the foundations [with England] had been proper,” Lancaster advised the BBC.
“We gained 4 out of 5 Six Nations video games for 4 years. If you go away a rustic, you’re taking with you the expertise that you’ve got developed and, not directly, you additionally give it to a different nation.”
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