Lancaster: Win was one of our best
March 9, 2014
England ended an 11-year wair for a Triple Crown title © Getty Images
England head coach Stuart Lancaster believes England's 28-19 win over Wales is one of the best victories of his time in charge of the national team.
In the same fixture last season Wales thrashed England 30-3, ending England's Six Nations and Grand Slam hopes. There was no repeat this time around, with the hosts coming out all guns blazing early on at Twickenham and never letting Wales get into their stride. Care's early try, and Burrell's just before half-time, proved decisive as England gave themselves a chance of claiming the Six Nations title next weekend.
When asked how it ranks with the other wins of his tenure, Lancaster insisted it is one which will live in the memory for a long time.
"It's right up there for me," Lancaster said. "It was a different type of game, the game against Ireland probably had a little bit more flow to it. But because of the significance of the game last year and obviously the pressure on the boys to deliver, in light of the World Cup in a year and a half's time and playing at Twickenham, the boys wanted to win this game and I'm delighted for them that they did.
"If Luther had gone in for that try in the corner, I think it would have been reward for our counter-attacking and our intent to play. I think Leigh Halfpenny's goalkicking really kept the scoreline close for a long period of time. But overall, if you'd have said to me at the start of the day this was going to be the result I would have taken it, 100%."
England can win the Six Nations title next weekend with a win against Italy - though they require France to beat Ireland in Paris to stand a realistic chance. Though he believes anything is possible next week, Lancaster is happy for England to focus solely on themselves in Rome.
"We have got a big game next week. We're in the fight. We have a big game against Italy to come. They [Wales] got one over on us last year and that was in the back of our minds as well, but today is our day.
"Ireland are a quality side. But France on their day at home, with something to play for - who knows? But we can't control that, we're first up. We've got a proud Italian side to play against who gave us a hard time two years ago and gave us a hard time last year at Twickenham. So we've got to get our heads right and do what we can do and control the controllables for us."
For Warren Gatland, he felt his team were starting to feel fatigued following last season's British & Irish Lions tour.
"It's been tough on these players in retrospect - a Grand Slam, a championship, a Lions tour - it's been a long 18 months for those players," he said. "But this is professional sport and you've got to get yourselves up and unfortunately we weren't as good as we can be today and that's disappointing.
"I thought we were better in the second half. We spoke about that at half-time - there were a few missed tackles by our tight five. Teams are pretty close in this competition. I think the four top teams are all capable of beating each other on their day if they get their performance right and England got their performance right today."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament