So, after another compelling and hard-fought Six Nations competition, England remains the king of Europe and Italy is still the punch bag at the continent’s highest level.
In theory five teams were still in Championship contention heading into the fourth round of games, but by the end of play on Saturday England had been crowned champions once again.
Iain Henderson crossed in the first half dominated by Ireland both in possession and territory but England fought back in the second.
“We were caught in certain areas today and we’ll learn from it and we’re going to have more setbacks as we go to the Wo0rld Cup”.
‘From the appointment of Eddie Jones through to securing back-to-back Grand Slams and a world record sequence of tier-one Test victories , this has been an nearly unbelievable tale’.
“We have been chuffed with the results we have had, but the reality is we still have a lot to do”. “I guess that was down to Ireland”.
“It’s been a great run but, as people keep saying, it was bound to come to an end and unfortunately it did. You don’t come here looking for back-to-back Grand Slams if you’re not a good outfit”, he told reporters.
Saturday would be no different.
As for the game itself, while Jones urged his me to take pride in another Six Nations triumph, he recognised they still had plenty of room for improvement.
“It was more down to our carrying, myself included”, Vunipola said of where England slipped up.
“He’s a bit of a nightmare to play against and he just has this real will to win”.
The lock put in a huge effort over the 80 minutes, the only game he started and finished, but it has been a topsy-turvy campaign from a personal point of view.
Ireland players and officials at the Captain’s Run at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. We just didn’t execute the way we like to.
“I thought we were going to stick it out, we were starting to get momentum and get a few breaks. This is still early days for a developing team, they are one year in to a four-year plan, and their potential is positively scary”.
The teams are not scheduled to play each other until the autumn of 2018 but the RFU confirmed last week that it was pursuing the opportunity for England to face the All Blacks in November. “Next time, if there is a next time, we’ll be better”.
“To win the World Cup you’ve got to win seven in a row, you’ve got to cope with that pressure”, added Jones.
However, Jones – who has revitalised England’s fortunes following their first-round exit on home soil at the 2015 World Cup – was generally happy with the team’s overall position and insisted his over-arching goal with them is to win the 2019 World Cup in Japan.