Stuart Lancaster: England ready for wide open World Cup after Ireland victory

England won 21-13 at Twickenham

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The Independent Online

England’s head coach Stuart Lancaster responded to his Rugby Football Union boss Rob Andrew’s midweek comment that the team were likely to hit their peak three years after the World Cup with a claim that they were among “six or seven” teams who could win the tournament that kicks off a week on Friday, following the 21-13 win over Ireland in the final warm-up match.

“It’s a results based business, I understand that,” Lancaster said. “But this team is ready. I would also add to that Ireland, Australia, Wales, New Zealand, South Africa. There are six or seven teams who could win it and whoever does so is going to have to put together six or seven performances. That’s our challenge as well. But playing at Twickenham the way we did today, we’re a hard team to beat. Ireland are a quality team and to get the win was a great building block for us.

“People keep talking to me about the challenge of Wales and Australia in our pool but we will deal one game at a time. The only thing I’m thinking about is the first match against Fiji.” Lancaster’s next move is to Harlequins today to watch the Fijians warm up against Canada.

Chris Robshaw called it a “great final dress rehearsal for the big one” after the England captain led the tackle count and saw his team punish the Six Nations champions with exciting tries by the wings Jonny May and Anthony Watson. In turn there was a warm tribute to Robshaw from England’s forwards coach Graham Rowntree.

“All the back row played very well,” said Rowntree, “but we must make special mention of Chris. He’s had a lot of criticism but he got hold of this group, and was fantastic for us today.”