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Lancaster to strike right balance

Stuart Lancaster insists England will use their experience of Cardiff two years ago to guide preparations for their final attempt on the 2015 RBS 6 Nations title.

The Red Rose enter next Saturday's climatic round of matches as bookmakers' favourites to end a sequence of three successive runners-up finishes under Lancaster by winning the crown.

France visit Twickenham, while Ireland travel to Scotland and Wales journey to Rome with the outcome of the Championship set to be decided by points difference.

Two years ago England were denied the Grand Slam by a traumatic 30-3 rout at the Millennium Stadium and Lancaster admits they misjudged the build-up to the 2013 finale.

"The key thing this week will be getting the balance right and making sure that we don't overdo it and play the game too early in the week," the head coach said.

"My experience of the Millennium game two years ago was that we had played the previous Sunday and by Wednesday/Thursday we were almost ready for the game.

"When it came to the game itself, we were probably emotionally beyond the point where we needed to be.

"So we need to make sure we get the build up right and play the game at the right time, which is five o'clock on Saturday."

England top the table, ahead of Ireland by a points difference of plus four, but Lancaster knows that tries by Jonathan Joseph, George Ford and Jack Nowell was a below-par return from their 25-13 victory over Scotland on Saturday.

Numerous opportunities were created, but poor decision making at key moments prevented them from building a healthier points cushion for the final day.

"If you look at the All Blacks, when they create a line break, they usually end up scoring from them," Lancaster said.

"We created 12 line breaks against Scotland, which as I said is a huge positive because I haven't seen any team pull Scotland apart like that.

"But to only come away with three tries is frustrating. I think the players know that as well."


From Belfast Telegraph