Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lancaster's Sights Still on the Six Nations Title despite Loss; IRELAND 19 ENGLAND 9

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lancaster's Sights Still on the Six Nations Title despite Loss; IRELAND 19 ENGLAND 9

Article excerpt

STUART Lancaster refused to concede defeat in England's pursuit of the RBS Six Nations title despite their chastening collapse to Ireland in Dublin.

The Red Rose crashed to a first loss of the tournament after being kicked into submission by the reigning champions, who remain on course for the Grand Slam after amassing a 10th successive victory.

Fixtures against Scotland and France complete England's Six Nations and head coach Lancaster insisted they are still capable of wrestling the crown from Irish hands. He said: "Absolutely we can still win the Six Nations. There are very few Grand Slam teams.

"In the majority of years you end up with a team winning the championship which has lost one game along the way.

"We have two games at home and it's critical we take as much out of those as we can.

"Ireland have two games away and Wales are still in the hunt having won at the weekend.

Wales against Ireland will be a big game but we can't control that."

Lions' fly-half Jonathan Sexton plotted England's downfall, pulling the strings masterfully and decorating his performance with a 14-point haul comprised of four penalties and a conversion.

The knockout blow was landed in the 53rd minute when Conor Murray directed a crossfield kick into the right corner where Robbie Henshaw out-jumped Alex Goode to score the game's only try.

England's indiscipline will be Lancaster's chief focus when the inquest into an alarming defeat begins this week and questions will also be asked why they were unable to nullify the champions' kicking game. Lancaster added: "A key point was our discipline in the first half.

"I think it was an 8-4 penalty count at half-time.

"Ireland played a very effective kicking and territory-based game.

"If you're ill-disciplined they can build the score. …

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