Triple Crown triumph not enough
Mon, 10 Mar 2014 07:38
We've got to get our heads right
England clinched the Triple Crown and kept their Six Nations title hopes alive, but the job is far from done.
Coach Stuart Lancaster insisted England need to continue to concentrate on their own game, rather than worry about other fixtures in the final round - after their 29-18 win over Wales set up a three-way tussle for the Six Nations title.
On a sunny dry day England saw scrumhalf Danny Care and centre Luther Burrell score tries in a match where flyhalf Owen Farrell kicked 19 points.
All of Wales' points came courtesy of six penalties from fullback Leigh Halfpenny, as England deservedly gained revenge for a record 30-3 defeat by the Welsh in Cardiff last year that cost them a Grand Slam.
This defeat, though, ends Wales's hopes of an historic third successive Six Nations title.
England secured their first triple crown in 11 years with a clinical display at Twickenham.
Their first win over Wales in four attempts leaves them level on six points with Ireland and France going into the final weekend of fixtures, with England's two rivals for the championship doing battle in Paris - after Lancaster's men face Italy in Rome earlier in the day.
Ireland have a healthy points difference lead going into the deciding matches, but Lancaster has urged England not to worry about other factors.
"Ireland are a quality side," said Lancaster.
"But France on their day at home, with something to play for - who knows?
"But we can't control that, we're first up. We've got a proud Italian side to play against who gave us a hard time two years ago and gave us a hard time last year at Twickenham.
"So we've got to get our heads right and do what we can do and control the controllables for us."
Lancaster had high praise for his England side, saying the victory was as impressive as their 13-10 defeat of Ireland a fortnight ago, especially coming a year after their 30-3 thumping at the Millennium stadium.
"It's right up there for me. It was a different type of game, the game against Ireland probably had a little bit more flow to it," he said.
"But because of the significance of the game last year and obviously the pressure on the boys to deliver, in light of the World Cup in a year and a half's time and playing at Twickenham, the boys wanted to win this game and I'm delighted for them that they did.
"If Luther had gone in for that try in the corner, I think it would have been reward for our counter-attacking and our intent to play.
"I think Leigh Halfpenny's goal-kicking really kept the scoreline close for a long period of time. He [Halfpenny] punished our indiscipline, but we were deserved winners
"Overall, if you'd have said to me at the start of the day this was going to be the result I would have taken it, 100 per cent."
"I'm really proud.
"Wales got one over us last year and that was in the back of our minds but this is our day and I'm delighted and proud for the boys."
England captain Chris Robshaw told his players to "bank that feeling" and make sure they never had to suffer it again.
"It's a massive scalp - we all know what happened last year," Robshaw told reporters.
"We'd lost the last two times we'd played them and we needed some momentum back. We've now got ourselves back into contention, and we're ticking along."
Sources: AFP & PA
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