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England march on with victory in Dublin

England’s rugby team continue to make impressive progress. They followed up their high-scoring displays against New Zealand and Scotland with a hard-fought war of attrition against Ireland and emerged from the hostile environment of Dublin with a 12-6 victory.

The match was all about discipline and endeavour and slotting penalties under pressure. Kicker Owen Farrell obliged four times and it was his father Andy, the England backs coach, who summed up the achievement. "That was an absolutely massive win," he said. "The way we composed ourselves and finished the game stronger, the way our energy got better and our line speed got better, our composure – it was a masterclass, really. For a young side to play like that in a pressured situation against a team that has been there and done that was a credit to everyone."

Ireland committed a host of errors and were far from the side that had steamrollered Wales the previous week, but Stuart Lancaster’s inexperienced team are going from strength to strength. The coach himself ignored the huge morale boost of that defeat of the All Blacks and preferred to underline the importance of the 2012 tour matches. "I think we also drew a lot of strength from our summer tour, when we went to big arenas like Ellis Park," Lancaster said. "So to come to Dublin against a quality Irish side, it's right up there with those wins."

It’s a little early for this young team to start talking about Grand Slams. Their three remaining games come against a vulnerable French side, inconsistent Italians and a Wales team that restored morale by beating France.

Ireland coach Declan Kidney warned England not to get ahead of themselves. "France are next up at Twickenham and England have to go to Cardiff. There's a hell of a lot to play for. The Grand Slam is a wonderful thing but trying to put it together takes an awful lot."

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