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Stuart Lancaster 'confident' for key clash with Ireland after whitewash against Scotland
England whitewashed Scotland for the first time in 36 years here to set up a pivotal Six Nations' Championship match against Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday week.
Tries by Luther Burrell and the man of the match Mike Brown helped hammer the woeful Scots 20-0 and in the process resurrected England's title hopes after the previous week's last-minute loss in France.
Ireland have two wins out of two after thumping the champions Wales in Dublin yesterday so Ireland and France, who take on Italy in Paris today, are the only teams who still have a chance of the Grand Slam.
However, England's head coach Stuart Lancaster believes his team can outstrip Ireland by winning all their remaining matches. They would also need the French to lose a match along the way.
"I saw parts of Ireland's game yesterday and they will be tough opposition," he said. "They have Munster's mauling game mixed with Leinster's backs and a bit of Ulster, and they are very well coached.
"Even though we lost in France, I looked at the way the games were falling and the likely outcome this weekend, and it does set us up for an important game against Ireland, no doubt about it," he added. "Ireland are playing really well but we're confident also and it's going to be a key game."
Burrell burst through a flummoxed Scottish defence in the first half to make it two tries in as many Tests for Northampton's novice international centre, playing alongside Billy Twelvetrees in a new-look England midfield.
With Leicester's Manu Tuilagi ruled out by Lancaster from facing the Irish – there is a slim chance the Bath prop Davey Wilson will be available – Burrell and Twelvetrees are likely to line up opposite the world's most experienced Test centre partnership of Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy.
"It's going to be a huge challenge," said Burrell. "I played against those two in the Heineken Cup a few weeks ago when Leinster put 40 points on Northampton but it would fantastic going up against them at Twickenham. They'll be coming off a good win over Wales so they'll be flying on confidence, but so will we.
"To score again was another proud moment for me. It was a planned move that worked well and Danny Care put me through a big hole.
"I'm still learning and I'll be working hard in training, but our forwards started getting in the game, we started getting over the gainline and that's when we're dangerous – when we get teams on the back foot."
Scotland had dropped their captain, Kelly Brown, and the Saracens flanker chose to remain at home in London rather than witness the Calcutta Cup rout in person.
The dire state of a pitch nicknamed Maggot-field for its infestation of soil-destroying worms contributed to the Scots' soul-destroying blank scoresheet as stand-in captain Greig Laidlaw missed two penalty kicks, while England's Owen Farrell could muster only one penalty and two conversions from six attempts. And Burrell missed a great chance to score a second try when he was chased down by Sean Lamont.
But the Scots' interim head coach, Scott Johnson, admitted: "We fell into England's strengths. They had 20 set-pieces in our 22 to the single one we had in theirs.
"England and Ireland are very different sides. It depends on the conditions and possession. If it opens up I can see Ireland doing some damage. If it closes down, England can do some damage."
None of the England team was born the last time they kept Scotland scoreless – a 15-0 win at Murrayfield in 1978.
Farrell's father Andy, the England backs coach, said: "The backs were good today, the forwards were good last week – we'll be looking for a combined performance against Ireland."
He said keeping the Scots scoreless while scoring 20 points "is what makes it a good afternoon".
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