Lancaster: ‘Win a great building block’

Date published: September 5 2015

England head coach Stuart Lancaster was pleased with the way his side showed a marked improvement from their loss to France in Saturday's win over Ireland. 

Recognising the progress made by his side and reporting a clean bill of health, Lancaster made clear how highly he respected Ireland.

"I thought we improved against a quality team in Ireland. To get the win is a great building block but now all of our focus goes onto Fiji," Lancaster told reporters.

"If you go into a game aiming not to lose then you probably won't win. You have to get the performance right first and look at the areas where we didn't perform well against France. In terms of the set-piece the forwards did well, our discipline was better, we controlled the territory. Having two tries disallowed was disappointing but we closed the game out well.

"When you play a side like Ireland you know they're going to have to their moments but we restricted their opportunities to very few in the second half. 

"Brad is a good defender and a good threat at the line and I thought JJ and the outside backs delivered – not just finishing tries and making chances. Browny, Anthony and Jonny did very well with Ireland’s big kicking threat.

"Jonny was excellent. Not just his aerial skills, and Ireland are so smart in their kicking game, but they rarely found grass because the back three had done their homework. He showed real physicality for that first try. 

"Ireland defend very well and you can look back on the disallowed tries and at 19-3 it could have been a different game. I was pleased with the performance really."

Forwards coach Graham Rowntree made sure to pay a special tribute to captain Chris Robshaw after England won the battle at the breakdown.

"There’s a couple of scrum issues to sort out but you’ll always get that against opposition like Ireland. I thought are energy was a lot better at the breakdown," said Rowntree.

"I have to give a special mention to Chris. Our back row played very well and he has had a lot of criticism, but he was fantastic today."

As for Lancaster, he will make the short journey over the A316 to watch England's RWC opener opponents Fiji in action on Sunday. 

"Now the focus just goes onto Fiji. We’re taking it one game at a time and the only thing I’m thinking about is going to The Stoop tomorrow to watch Fiji play Canada. On the back of a pretty disappointing performance I’m pleased with the reaction," said the head coach.

Rob Andrew's claim earlier in the week that England would peak "in two or three" years time was met with a negative reaction and asked if he felt England were ready now to win the Rugby World Cup, Lancaster responded affirmatively.

"It’s a results-based business and I think this team is ready, but there are six or seven who will have to put a run of results together," he said.

"Playing at Twickenham, we’re a hard team to beat."