- England lock content with spirited performance at Stade de France
- "Now we want to finish the championship on a high at Twickenham" – Parling
Geoff Parling believes that the lessons learnt from last month’s agonising defeat to Wales gave England a crucial edge in the final moments of Sunday afternoon’s dramatic 24-22 victory over Les Bleus.
However, speaking in the immediate aftermath of England’s third away win of this season’s RBS 6 Nations, the Leicester Tigers lock suggested that Stuart Lancaster’s charges were already focussed on the next matter in hand – a Saint Patrick’s Day clash with Ireland at Twickenham.
"It’s just brilliant," explained an exhausted Parling, who played all 80 minutes and made 20 tackles during an absorbing encounter in Saint-Denis.
"We were obviously quite relieved at the end of the game because we put ourselves in a winning position and, after learning some lessons from last time, we just managed to close the game. That was really good.
"We are over the moon but after that finish the changing room was quite tired and very quiet. Now, we are just looking forward to next week."
Despite trailing 24-15 win less than 10 minutes to play, France nearly conjured an unlikely triumph, with Wesley Fofana’s try setting up a chance for Francois Trinh-Duc to condemn the visitors to a second consecutive loss.
However, the replacement fly half’s drop goal fell metres short and England clung on to preserve a slim hope of retaining their RBS 6 Nations crown.
"These games are decided by fine margins and we had to put on some pressure when they went for the drop goal," Parling added.
"That is something we have worked on all week. It was a good, spirited showing and we outscored them three tries to one so I thought we fully deserved the result."
Singling out club mate Tom Croft as a stand-out performer, Parling reserved special praise for England’s lineout, which he called a pleasing aspect of the afternoon.
Photo: Getty Images
Finally, looking forward to the final match of what has been an impressive tournament overall, he urged the squad to maintain concentration for what is certain to be a fascinating showdown with Declan Kidney’s men at Twickenham.
"We think we have a great team and there is a lot of belief here," Parling finished. "We thought beforehand that we were on an upward curve and we needed a win to keep that going. I still that there is a lot we can improve on – we will look at the video and I think we’ll see some missed opportunities.
"There was a bit of indiscipline at times as well but it is very good that we have won the game and can still look back at areas in which we could have done better.
"Ireland are a great team and this is our second home game after losing the first [to Wales]. Now, we want to put things right, win and finish the championship on a high."