Monday 25 September 2017

England boss: We must be exceptional to beat Ireland

England coach warns his players that only their best will do in Grand Slam eliminator

Despite their six-try win over Italy, England coach Stuart Lancaster wants an improved defensive display from his side against Ireland after the Azzurri crossed the English line three times. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images
Despite their six-try win over Italy, England coach Stuart Lancaster wants an improved defensive display from his side against Ireland after the Azzurri crossed the English line three times. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

England coach Stuart Lancaster has warned his team that they will need to be at their best if they want to continue their winning run against Ireland on Sunday week.

The Chariot is in full swing after wins over Wales and Italy, and a Grand Slam eliminator looms large at the Aviva Stadium next week between the last remaining unbeaten sides in the Six Nations.

Lancaster has not ruled out recalling Geoff Parling, Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood to his squad despite the fact the trio are yet to train fully, while Mike Brown's chances of making it are receding given he has not yet been cleared to return to training after suffering a concussion last Saturday.

Saracens full-back Alex Goode is on stand-by to come in for Brown, while winger Jonny May's place appears to be in danger, with Jack Nowell being called up to the panel, while Billy Twelvetrees has remained in camp.

Joe Launchbury and Manu Tuilagi are back training with England, but won't be available to face Ireland.

Despite their six-try win over the Italians in south London last weekend, Lancaster wants an improved display after the Azzurri crossed the English line three times.

"The point (defence coach) Andy (Farrell) will be making is that the intensity was good for 60 minutes out of 80. In order to beat Ireland it's going to have to be 80 out of 80. There were periods right at the start and the end of the game when our intensity wasn't what it should be," he said.

"Ireland are very good defensively and they've got a very experienced side.

"They've got a very good kicking game as well. Having played them last year, we won 13-10 didn't we, and the previous year in Ireland was a very close game, although it was played in the rain. So we know we'll have to be at our best.

"Australia broke them down in November, but only through exceptional attack, and that's what it's going to need to be in Ireland next weekend."

Irish Independent

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