‘England pack will gain huge confidence’

Former England No 8 LAWRENCE DALLAGLIO, writing in the London Sunday Times, praised the England pack for their performance in Paris.

Dallaglio said England's 26-24 defeat had been 'crushing' but that they had played well and he would 'be surprised if England lose another game in this championship'.

He then heaped praise on the forwards.

'I loved how that pack fought. Courtney Lawes and Joe Launchbury have been growing as a second-row partnership and this may have been their greatest day. They both got through a huge workload. They are good at the lineout, they tackle, they carry, they are busy at the breakdown and they don’t give away needless penalties. Lawes also contributes with tackles that can inspire his teammates and make the opposition think.

'I also liked how the front row played. With Alex Corbisiero so prone to injury, England need young Joe Marler to keep improving — and he’s certainly doing that. His scrummaging was better than it has been and he contributes enormously in the loose. The new scrummage laws favour the technical props more than the big brutes and Marler is settling in so well that Corbisiero’s susceptibility to injury seems less a worry for England now than in the recent past.'

Dallaglio said it was England’s loose forwards who really gave the team crucial forward momentum.

'Billy Vunipola was outstanding and probably the game’s most influential player. He is so difficult to stop and the French didn’t seem to have a clue. It was no surprise that he made the stampeding run, off an excellent Owen Farrell pass, to set up Luther Burrell’s try.

'Vunipola is still only 21 and clearly has a huge future in the game. I have always felt he has the potential to soon become the dominant No 8 in world rugby and yesterday’s performance didn’t discourage that view. Tom Wood is another player I admire because he is so honest, and Chris Robshaw has that same quality, though I didn’t feel this was his best game for England.

'But I can see the England pack gaining huge confidence from this performance. They know they went to France and came from 16-3 down to subdue and then dominate the French pack. That is going to give them huge confidence.'

Read the full column at the Sunday Times website (PAYWALL)

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt