Six Nations 2014: England’s Stuart Lancaster frustrated despite win
Six Nations 2014: England head coach Stuart Lancaster was left frustrated despite a 20-0 win over Scotland on Saturday
Stuart Lancaster believes his young England squad can win the Six Nations despite what the head coach described as a “frustrating” 20-0 win over at Scotland.
It was cruise mode all the way for England at Murrayfield after a bruising encounter against France a week earlier which ended with a narrow defeat.
We have put ourselves in contention for the championship
If there were any doubts about England’s pre-tournament status as joint-favourites, they were instantly dispelled in the first half in Edinburgh.
“We have put ourselves in contention for the championship,” Lancaster said. “Some of our attacking play was excellent considering the difficult conditions and they only disappointment was that we did not score more points in a second half we dominated having led 13-0 at the interval.
“The victory sets us up for the game against Ireland. They have an impressive victory over Wales and they are well coached now, blending Munster’s mauling game with Leinster’s play behind. It is going to be a key match.”
Unfancied by the bookmakers before the start of the tournament, Ireland have already beaten Scotland and Wales convincingly and will be joined at the top of the table by France should they beat Italy on Sunday.
At 13-0 at half-time after England failed to score at the death, Scotland were still in the game, but the one-sided nature of the second half, assisted by centre Alex Dunbar being sin-binned.
And the lack of a ruthless streak against a woeful Scotland side should offer some cause for concern: two tries really should have been four or five, despite the poor playing surface.
Lancaster added: “There were chances there that we didn’t take and we definitely have regrets over the points we left out there. We played some really good stuff in difficult conditions. Scotland had to defend desperately.”
Much praise has been heaped on England’s young and dynamic backs with Mike Brown, Luther Burrell and Jonny May the stand-out performers at Murrayfield.
And while the England coach paid tribute to them and the work done by his assistant coaches to get them up to international standard, he is fully aware they face the ultimate test in two weeks’ time against the world’s best centre partnership.
“The work that Andy Farrell and Mike Catt have done with Luther and Billy [Twelvetrees] is really paying off,” Lancaster said.
“The timing and number of options going into the line were excellent and Luther’s try was a good case in point.
“They’re going well as a partnership, especially given that they’ve only trained together for two weeks and have played twice.
“They’ll need to be on top of their game against the Irish centres [Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy], who are clearly world class.”