IT’S too early to talk of yesterday’s heroics at the Stade de France as being a defining victory for this emerging England side but for their coach Stuart Lancaster this win was a significant feather in his cap.
Talk of big-hitters like Nick Mallett and Jake White being in the frame to take the head coach’s job after the Six Nations could have been a distraction in the build-up to yesterday’s contest, but England were focused, disciplined and showcased an imagination in attack lacking in the previous three matches.
England’s opening two tries may have been opportunistic efforts, rather than coming as a result of structured play, but you have to take those chances when they arrive and we haven’t always been that clinical in the past.
Any win over the French, particularly one in their own back yard, should be celebrated and Lancaster can now head to any potential job interview with the Rugby Football Union in possession of a very convincing case to say he should remain in charge.
UNITY KEY TO LONG-TERM SUCCESS
One of the most pleasing aspects of England under Lancaster has been how quickly they’ve gelled as a team. Under the previous regime it felt like success was dependent on a couple of star men propping up a supporting cast.
It’s impossible to be consistently successful at this level without that team spirit and yesterday’s victory was born out of a unity that was evident when England were down to 14 men, rather than any technical superiority.
I’m loath to talk about star performers for that very reason but England’s back row were all mightily impressive. Tom Croft capped a superb display with a brilliant try and I thought Ben Morgan was terrific. He really is rapid across the pitch for someone so big and poses a real attacking threat.
Josh Lewsey was speaking courtesy of GamePlan Solutions: Managing high profile and popular sport stars; speakers, leaders, motivators, ambassadors www.gameplansolutions.co.uk