England celebrations on hold before grand slam

England celebrations on hold before grand slam

England have seen a major turnaround in the last 18 months under coach Eddie Jones, having suffered an early exit from the World Cup they hosted in 2015.

The Ireland's women team to play England in Friday's RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam showdown shows one change from the side that defeated Wales last weekend.

Jones is meticulous with this approach to foreign turfs, and has in the past advised his England team to expect pre-match skulduggery; with Scotland it was wayward bagpipes, France it was renegade roosters and with Wales it was their goat potentially disrupting their preparations.

Courtney Lawes is confident there will be "no stone left unturned" as England seek to make history next weekend by completing a second successive Six Nations Grand Slam. They had hooker Fraser Brown sin-binned in the second minute and lost their talisman full-back Stuart Hogg through injury shortly afterwards, quickly followed by replacement Mark Bennett. But I think when the spotlight goes on to development and long-term planning - and there's a massive amount of work that goes into that - 100% you'd want to hopefully, one day, have yourself up there and do that.

"What the All Blacks have achieved and what England have achieved now, the All Blacks have been up there for a long time", says Ireland assistant coach Greg Feek.

But England's head coach is wary of the comments emanating from Down Under, suggesting Hansen is like the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, dressing up as grandmother to trick the unwary.

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"Last year it kind of took us by surprise". In those days there were no tactical substitutions so I didn't play a part in any of the games, but I was proud to have been involved in the Grand Slam-winning campaign.

England certainly put in their best performance of the campaign but Scotland were bad and a pale shadow of the team that had disposed of Ireland and Wales earlier in the Championship.

Twenty-four-year-old front-rower Furlong has vague memories of both those encounters, but remains unruffled by the result in either.

"We'll have a couple of quiet drinks tonight and enjoy that and attention then turns to Ireland and that's going to be hard". It's a childhood dream.

Eddie Jones has put England on red alert ahead of their Grand Slam bid in Dublin on Saturday. But there's a 25 per cent chance of England ending up in the same pool as the Pumas, and given their chastening experience two years ago, you imagine they might catch a break this time around.

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