England’s hopes of winning the championship faded last week in Ireland, where they lost 19-9 to Ireland.
But results worked in England’s favour on Saturday, as they beat Scotland 25-13 and Wales did what could turn out to be a great favour to the Red Rose in beating Ireland 23-16.
It means that England top the table with six points and a points difference of 37, four more than Ireland and 25 more than Wales, both of whom are also on six points (France and Italy have a game in hand but whoever wins their game tomorrow will only have four points).
Lancaster said: “I’m delighted to get the win and give ourselves a chance because of the result in Wales.”
We’re delighted about the opportunities we created
However, it wasn’t a day of unbridled joy for England. They squandered several good chances in the first 20 minutes and, after a strong Scotland fightback, found themselves down at half-time, and lucky to escape a sin bin for Dan Cole jumping on a ‘not-out’ ball a yard from England’s line.
“We missed some opportunities out there and certainly going in 13-10 at half-time is a concern, but that said, we created the opportunities and I’m pleased overall to get the win,” Lancaster said.
“We started well, which was quite a bonus because that’s been a bit of an issue where we’ve been conceding points, and to go 7-0 up and also have a scrum on their line where it could have been 14.
“But then obviously, disappointedly, we dropped away at that point. And Scotland played well, came back in the game and went in in the lead at half-time.
“We’re delighted about the opportunities we created, but equally we’ll look back at the tape and the tries that were disallowed and the opportunities we missed – it is frustrating, without a doubt.”
Lancaster has a good reason to be somewhat frustrated after having watched his team miss good opportunities to put more now-crucial points on the board.
But as the week on and thoughts turn to the France game, the combination of going into the final weekend of the Six Nations in the lead, with a home tie and knowing what they must do, may well seem like a fine position to be in.
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