Planet Rugby



England composure pleases Lancaster

23rd February 2013 19:38


Stuart Lancaster Manu Tuilagi

Another win: Lancaster with Tuilagi

England coach Stuart Lancaster was delighted with his side's composure as they fought back to defeat France in the Six Nations.

A first-half try from Wesley Fofana and problems at the set-piece saw England go into half-time 9-10 down, before responding after the interval to run out 23-13 winners at Twickenham as they improved throughout the second half.

"It was a proper test match. France brought their A game and got their try, but we're happy with our composure and our discipline. If you had offered me a 10-point win before the start of the match, I would have taken it," said Lancaster.

"It showed a great level of maturity for a young side with an average age of 24, playing against a side which has been to a World Cup final.

"We had our moments with a tough time at the scrum and the lineout, but the ability to problem solve is encouraging.

"The overall message was about finishing the game in the last 20 minutes and that is what was happened."

Lancaster reserved praise for England captain Chris Robshaw, who was named Man of the Match for the second successive fixture, whilst allaying fears over Owen Farrell who limped off in the second half.

"It's not too bad. Owen has a quad strain and the longer he went on the worst it got, so it made sense to bring on Toby [Flood]," added Lancaster.

"Chris was outstanding and I thought that he and Tom Wood were like rocks in the side. I thought Chris showed great leadership but also his ability and his performance under pressure are a testament to him.

"You make your luck in terms of your intensity at the breakdown and the way that you defend. As the game went on we got stronger and started to knock them back. Credit to Andy [Farrell] and the players defensively for that. We got a couple of intercepts, but that's not by luck.

"It was a soft try and Fofana did extremely well to score it, but there was no panic in the changing room. We talked about the breakdown and getting off the line defensively, and we were always confident that our bench would come on and we would see the fruits of our labour."

England forwards coach Graham Rowntree was pleased with his side's gradual improvement at the set-piece, whilst also praising Robshaw and Wood for their performances.

"They were a handful at scrum-time with Domingo and with Samson at the lineout, but we did some problem solving," said Rowntree.

"That said we will have to look at possession lost. I thought Robshaw and Wood were exceptional - it was arguably Tom's finest game in an England shirt and he didn't win man of the match which showed how well Chris played."

by Ben Coles

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