Six Nations Rugby

Six Nations 2014: Stuart Lancaster’s young England side show world

It could have gone horribly wrong in so many ways between the time England’s players left the team bus for their pre-match parade through the green-wellied set in the swanky west car park – who could be sure that Chris Robshaw would not do himself a mischief slipping on a sliver of smoked salmon, or tripping over a bottle of Chablis? – and the final white-knuckle moments of a memorable struggle, when Joe Launchbury somehow found the energy to make the tap-tackle that won the game, defying all rugby logic. The fact that things ultimately went so right confirmed that Robshaw and company will take an awful lot of beating when the World Cup comes to town next year.

Lewis Moody: Stuart Lancaster has shown the courage of his convictions

Fair play to Stuart Lancaster. Winning a first cap playing against France in Paris is a huge challenge – I cannot overemphasise what a tough, incredibly hostile setting it is to go and start your international career. It’s physically and mentally one of the most imposing places to take your first steps, but you have to admire the choice Lancaster has made for the opening game of what is a big tournament for the England coach and his side.

Six Nations 2014: Brian O'Driscoll's final bow won't sway focus,

Brian O'Driscoll was the beating emotional heart of the Lions party in Wallaby country last summer and when the great Ireland centre was dropped for the final Test, thousands upon thousands of rugby followers went into sporting seizure. Many did not forgive Warren Gatland, the coach who made the bravest of brave calls, even when the tourists won in Sydney and completed a first series triumph in 16 years.

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