Six Nations: England head coach Stuart Lancaster eyeing France clash

Last Updated: 11/02/13 11:18am

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England head coach Stuart Lancaster credited his side's maturity after the 12-6 Six Nations victory over Ireland in Dublin.

In testing conditions, the Red Rose barged their way to what may prove a tournament-deciding victory - converting graft to points via four penalties from the boot of the nerveless Owen Farrell.

Lancaster, however, was quick to heap praise on his whole team, who doubled their efforts once flanker James Haskell had been sent to the sin bin during a period of Irish dominance in the second half.

He said: "I think we had a good first half. The start of the second half, we gave up a couple of turnovers and that put us under pressure but the way we managed the sin-bin period was critical.

"The stakes have always been high but they get even higher when you've got France coming to Twickenham off the back of losing yesterday, so we'll build ourselves up for that, which will be massive."
Stuart Lancaster

"I thought we grew in strength towards the end of the game and deserved the win. It is a very difficult to play rugby against experienced players when we have lads on single figures in terms of caps, it is great testament to their maturity.

"As a test of character it was right up there because of the quality of the Ireland side and the ability to get the win."

"I'm chuffed for him [Farrell] and for the maturity of the whole team. There are a lot of young players out there, they've come away from home and we've not won here for a long time.

"You can see the weather out there, the lads are freezing but we've gone and got the win and we'll take it.

High stakes

"The stakes have always been high but they get even higher when you've got France coming to Twickenham off the back of losing yesterday, so we'll build ourselves up for that, which will be massive."

"I put that up there as an absolutely massive win, a huge win... for a young side to play like that in a pressured situation against a team that has been there and done that, and been successful with it, is a credit to everyone."
Andy Farrell

Assistant coach Andy Farrell is in no doubt about the magnitude of England's achievement. "I put that up there as an absolutely massive win, a huge win. We have come to Ireland and we have played against a very good Ireland side," he said.

"There was a tricky point in the third quarter but the way we composed ourselves and finished the game - our energy got better, our line speed got better, our composure - was a masterclass of how to handle that last 20 minutes.

"For a young side to play like that in a pressured situation against a team that has been there and done that, and been successful with it, is a credit to everyone."

Two years ago on their last Six Nations visit to Dublin, England failed to match Ireland's intensity and their Grand Slam ambitions were demolished at the Aviva Stadium.

This time was different and they became the first English side to win a championship game in Ireland since Martin Johnson's Grand Slam team of 2003.

"The lads were desperate for the victory," said forwards coach Graham Rowntree. "Coming into the Six Nations we had to back up that performance against New Zealand. We did that last week and then we had to do it away from home, because that defines you as a group of players.

"Going forward it will be fantastic to get that under their belts. They upped their game because they knew it would be a massive challenge."

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