Brilliant England must prove joyous win over Ireland wasn’t a one-off

England’s George Ford and Marcus Smith must shine against in France (Picture: Reuters)

After the ecstasy of victory over Ireland, the question hovering over England is a hard but simple one – can you do it again?

As the dust settles this week the England camp will have allowed themselves time to savour the moment. But the brutal nature of international sport is that you are only as good as your next game. Time to reflect, yes, but no time to bathe in self and collective joy, France awaits.

The real test for Steve Borthwick’s side now is can they back it up, do they have the ability to go to the well again and find a performance?

Or was this result one created through emotional anger towards what they felt were unfair comments aimed in their direction and the ‘free shot’ of removing Ireland’s crown and denying them back-to-back Grand Slams.

Intent had swirled around Twickenham on Saturday afternoon as England sent the Irish home with their tail between their legs.

But it was not the sight of a team packed full of world-clash talent that seemed to galvanise England but rather the headlines created by critical former players and pundits, with columns and headlines splattered with quotes to infuriate the men in white.

Ollie Lawrence helped England make a fast start

Ollie Lawrence helped England make a fast start (Picture: Getty Images)

In all honesty, many English fans felt similar, that Ireland were too powerful and had too much for 
their hosts. The contrasting performances from the two teams in their three previous matches in the Six Nations had provided ample evidence for this view. However, England found something, a performance to be proud of and we can hope it is one from which they can build.

As against Scotland, the game started in lightning fashion for England, scoring in the early minutes and setting out their stall with brutality and guile. Ireland were reeling for the opening 20 minutes, unable to gain a foothold in the game, losing out drastically in possession and territory.

Crucially, though, unlike at Murrayfield this time England cut down the errors which in turn allowed them to keep going on the attack time and time again.

Throughout the game Ireland were challenged and showed their class by being able to respond as they scored in those crucial moments, just before half-time and with only minutes to go to the 
final whistle.

At these defining stages of the match, all credit must go to England for finding something. A team short of belief and confidence controlled their emotions and created the chances to win the match when, with a double penalty advantage, Macus Smith stepped up to clip the ball over the 
posts and send Twickenham into raptures.

The emotion was palpable on the pitch and in the stands. Those playing and watching craved a performance, a moment, like that. It drove Twickenham into a euphoric state, as Guinness and beer andwas hurled across 
the stands.

England will hope to be celebrating again in Lyon

England will hope to be celebrating again in Lyon (Picture: Getty Images)

So now to tackle that tricky question and to show this was not a one-off. It somehow seems appropriate the team they visit in Lyon this weekend was historically renowned for always being able to find one big emotional performance to dismantle the opposition’s title hopes, but lack the consistency to keep this level up.

They are no longer that entity but are still suffering internally from the disappointment of a quarter-final exit at their home World Cup. It sets up this weekend as a bit of a cracker, England buoyed with confidence and belief heading to France with the outside chance of winning the title.

Who would have expected that this time last week? That is the rollercoaster nature of international sport, so buckle up. The Six Nations finale on Saturday could be a classic.

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