- England Head Coach hails England's ambitious approach
- Lancaster calls for “detail” against Italy
Stuart Lancaster has hailed the 29-18 win over Wales at Twickenham as a “special day”, but says England’s focus must switch to this weekend’s clash in Italy extremely quickly.
Two first-half tries from Danny Care and Luther Burrell sank Warren Gatland’s charges on Sunday and went some way towards exorcising the pain of a 30-3 mauling in Cardiff last time the sides met.
On an unseasonably warm day, the hosts demonstrated confidence and skill in attack and troubled their far more experienced opponents with relentless pace in phase-play and intensity in defence.
Indeed, looking back on a first victory over Wales in his two-year tenure, Lancaster admitted his satisfaction.
Photo: Getty Images
“I was delighted to get the win, really,” he said. “There was a lot going on in the lead-up to the game in terms of what happened last year. I thought the players handled it well and it was a great team performance. It was a special day at Twickenham in front of 80,000 people.
“You’ve got to have self-belief if you are going to win and we have always tried to instil that in our players. We’re still young but even playing against so many British and Irish Lions this weekend, we knew we could win.
“Twelve months ago we got ourselves behind on a turnover try and we lacked some composure. This game we got a better start and the momentum was with us. We left one or two penalties out there, which was fairly disappointing because that kept them in the game.
“Overall I thought our attacking threat was better and we delivered on the day.”
One eye-catching aspect of England’s Triple Crown-clinching result was the athleticism and handling of Graham Rowntree’s forwards. As a unit – and including the contribution of five replacements – they racked up six offloads and 30 passes, transferring the point of contact to trouble Wales defenders.
There were also huge improvements at the scrum, which forced Gethin Jenkins to concede three penalties and eventually earn a yellow card from referee Romain Poite, so Lancaster was quick to praise the pack.
Photo: Getty Images
“The forwards deserve a pat on the back, particularly David Wilson and Joe Marler, who were outstanding. I think Davey hit more breakdowns than anyone, which is fantastic. Credit to Graham for the work he has done and Mike Catt for developing their skills and giving them the confidence to try things.
“When you think about Luther’s try that he almost got at the end of the game, Courtney Lawes’ contribution to that was massive and on the inside was Dave Attwood, who had sprinted half the length of the field.
“The fitness and conditioning levels means they can contribute and we can play the kind of rugby we want to play.”
England have a points deficit of 49 to Ireland but with three wins each a thrashing of Italy in Rome would see them secure the Championship regardless of Ireland’s efforts in Paris. However, hinting that selection would remain consistent, Lancaster was wary of getting ahead of himself.
“It won’t be about telling the boys they need to get 50 points or whatever – it’ll be about the detail in the same way we prepared for Ireland and Wales. We need to do that quickly and smartly. There will be no celebration, we’ll put it to bed quickly and move on.
“Last year at Twickenham it was only 18-11 – that’s a case in point. For a long period of that game we were hanging in there. We’ve got to be better than that because it’s a game they’ve all been waiting for – us at home in the final game of the Six Nations.”