Robshaw keen to build on Ireland win
Updated: Monday, 11 Feb 2013 09:09
England captain Chris Robshaw felt his side delivered a powerful statement of intent with their battling 12-6 victory over Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.
No English side had won an RBS 6 Nations match in Dublin for a decade, since Martin Johnson's team completed a Grand Slam at the old Lansdowne Road.
Owen Farrell kicked four penalties as England delivered a performance of ferocious intensity to pass their biggest test of character since Stuart Lancaster took charge.
In doing so, England signalled their Six Nations title credentials. They host France in two Saturdays' time before tackling Italy at Twickenham and then Wales in Cardiff.
"We came here to put a marker down and we will build on that," said Robshaw, who was named man of the match.
"We knew we hadn't won here in ten years and we knew why. Today we got it spot on.
"We are always fired up and the message today was 'no backward step', whether it is little off-the-ball stuff or going after them from minute one and we did that today.
"It was all about defence at the end of the day and someone like Owen kicking the goals. That performance was definitely right up there."
The victory, by many measures, represented England's biggest achievement under Lancaster.
England's victory over New Zealand in December was stunning but it was a one-off performance when the team had nothing to lose. Now they shoulder expectations and each week they rise to them.
Last week England added new levels to their attacking game to beat Scotland 38-18. Yesterday, under incessant rain, they had to battle for their victory.
Head coach Stuart Lancaster hailed the maturity of his young team.
"I am delighted to get the win here," Lancaster said.
"When you have the conditions as they were it was going to be a tight game and down to small margins.
"To come here with a young side and show that kind of maturity to close the game out was hugely pleasing.
"It is a very difficult to play rugby against experienced players when we have lads on single figures in terms of caps, it is great testament to their maturity.
"As a test of character it was right up there because of the quality of the Ireland side and the ability to get the win."
Ireland enjoyed most of the first-half possession but England defended like rabid dogs at times and they led 6-0 at the interval.
Ronan O'Gara landed two penalties to draw Ireland level and with, James Haskell in the sin-bin, England were suddenly up against it.
But the visitors maintained their composure and won that 10-minute period, with Farrell restoring their six-point advantage.
"I put that up there as an absolutely massive win, a huge win," said assistant coach Andy Farrell.
"We have come to Ireland and we have played against a very good Ireland side.
"There was a tricky point in the third quarter but the way we composed ourselves and finished the game - our energy got better, our line speed got better, our composure - was a masterclass of how to handle that last 20 minutes.
"For a young side to play like that in a pressured situation against a team that has been there and done that, and been successful with it, is a credit to everyone."