Six Nations Championship 2015
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Medics call for a stretcher as England’s injured fullback Mike Brown lays motionless 12 minutes into Saturday’s Six Nations match against Italy. Photo: AP

Lancaster demands more improvement for key clash

‘Ireland will be a totally different matter’, says England coach after romp over Italy


Stuart Lancaster insists his England side "must improve again" if they are to continue their fine assault on the Six Nations Championship and beat the Irish in their own backyard in two weeks.

The England head coach is hopeful fullback Mike Brown will recover from his head injury and be available for that Dublin contest which will go a long way in deciding this season's champions following England's win over Italy and Ireland beating France.

Lancaster had mixed emotions after a six-try romp on Valentine's Day made it two out of two in the Championship.

Bath centre Jonathan Joseph grabbed two tries and impressed with a man of the match display.

There will not be any place for mistakes or a lack of concentration or intensity in Dublin, that’s for sure. Ireland are also on the upward curve and looking strong
England head coach Stuart Lancaster

But Lancaster knows too well that the intensity of performance must be cranked up a few notches to succeed again at the Aviva Stadium.

"Ireland will be a totally different matter," he said. "That's going to be a difficult game but we've started the tournament well and we go there with belief, confidence and momentum.

"The guys know full well what to expect against Ireland. It will be full on from the start, just as it was in Cardiff. They know they must improve again and put in an 80-minute performance there.

"We expected a tough time against Italy. We knew they were a dangerous side from two years ago when they came to Twickenham and pushed us close.

"There were some outstanding performances and fine team tries but the guys know they can play better.

Lancaster praised centre Joseph for his two tries and outstanding performance at Twickenham as England hit back from 5-0 down to win 47-17.

The player himself admits he's flattered by the comparisons to Jeremy Guscott he's been receiving but is not going to let it go to his head.

"It's nice to be compared to someone like Jeremy Guscott, especially someone of such class and ability who had such a great career with Bath and England. But I know I am not the finished article," the 23-year-old Joseph said.

England overpowered Italy in the second half after trailing to a Sergio Parisse try – Italy's first in tests for 258 minutes. Billy Vunipola, Joseph twice, Ben Youngs, Danny Cipriani and Nick Easter crossed for England.

Replacement fly-half Cipriani went over with his first touch of the ball on his England return after seven years. Easter, 36, became England's oldest ever test try scorer.

The only cloud for England was a head injury to fullback Mike Brown, taken off after just 12 minutes. He recovered to take a seat in the stands, and now Lancaster is hopeful he will be available for Dublin.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Lancaster demands improvement for key clash