Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

England coach promises Irish hot reception

Home comfort: Stuart Lancaster relishing Twickenham games
Home comfort: Stuart Lancaster relishing Twickenham games

Stuart Lancaster insists England intend continuing the resurrection of their RBS 6 Nations title assault by bringing Twickenham to its feet for the visit of Ireland.

After successive trips to Paris and Edinburgh, the next two rounds will unfold amid the reassuring surroundings of their London stronghold with the visit of unbeaten Ireland,followed by champions Wales a fortnight later.

Having lost narrowly to France and routed Scotland 20-0 on Saturday, there is no margin for error if England are to remain in title contention.

Lancaster has braced Twickenham for a Six Nations classic against the Irish and hopes to reward home fans with a decisive victory.

"Playing the next two games at home is massive for us. We've trained at Twickenham more now recently which has helped," Lancaster said. "The way the crowd has got behind us in the last few games has been huge, certainly in the autumn internationals.

"We owe them a decent performance because they're definitely backing us.

"Ireland are a very good attacking side. Joe Schmidt has brought Leinster's cohesion to the national team. Defensively they are going to challenge us.

"They caused Wales a lot of problems with their mauling in that second half, so we will have to be on our mettle up front.

"But we have got threats of our own as well. They should be looking at us and thinking 'This is going to be a good old game'."

England would still be chasing the Grand Slam themselves had their defence not been outwitted by Gael Fickou's late try in Paris, but comfort has since been drawn from the efficiency displayed at Murrayfield.

More tries should have been added to the two scored by Luther Burrell and Mike Brown, but it was otherwise an accomplished display that was hard to fault.

"Overall we made a statement in this game, yes. In parts we played really well in very difficult conditions," said Lancaster, in reference to the mudbath of a pitch at Murrayfield.

"I actually thought we made a statement against France last weekend and we were disappointed not to have won.

"I'm pleased that we've had a good win and that can take us into two massive home games.

"I think points difference might come into the Championship equation now. If Ireland beat us obviously it's theirs to win."

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