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Six Nations Rugby: England coach Stuart Lancaster not ready to dream

By Duncan Bech

Stuart Lancaster is refusing to "dream" of seeing his England team crowned RBS 6 Nations champions for the first time on Saturday night.

The Red Rose have been installed as favourites to replace Ireland as champions on a climatic final round that will conclude with France visiting Twickenham, yet they could finish as low as fourth in the table.

Ireland and Wales are also in the hunt with the staggered kick-offs - starting in Rome at 1230 and concluding when England take the field at 5pm - ensuring a nerve-jangling afternoon awaits.

For a third successive year the title is set to be decided by points difference with England's cushion over the Irish of plus four placing them in pole position, although they arguably have the toughest fixture, even allowing for France's dismal record at Twickenham.

Lancaster is desperate to lift the first piece of major silverware of his reign but having finished runners-up for the last three years, the head coach is acutely aware of how best laid plans can be foiled.

"To win at Twickenham would mean a huge amount - for the players and the fans," he said.

"I know how much hard work people have put in and also how much it hurt to come second for three years in a row.

"But you can't start thinking about things like that until you get the detail of the game right. We've got a huge challenge coming our way from France.

"They're a high quality team - very big and physical. As they showed last year when they played Ireland, they played right through for the full 80 in that last game even though they couldn't win the Championship.

"It could still be the case they have something to play for, so we won't start dreaming yet, we'll get our detail right."

Belfast Telegraph


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