'Honeymoon period' over for England boss Jones, says Woodward

It's still another 18 months before next year's World Cup but winning a Grand Slam will provide a springboard as Ireland harbour a goal of challenging the All Blacks in Japan next September.

The nature of a physical sport like rugby is seismic injuries will affect the team - even though every coach wants a full deck to select from - but Schmidt has shown faith in young players and given them the confidence to step up and perform when opportunity knocks.

Saturday's reverse in Paris came immediately after England's 25-13 defeat by Scotland and meant they had lost back-to-back matches under Jones for the first time since he took charge after the team's first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup.

"There's so much still to play for and we know how hard it is going to be against England".

"We know how tough it is over there, we know all the things that'll be coming into this game".

"We'll have to look how we can be more clinical", stand-in captain Farrell said.

"Although he (Ford) has had his moments in friendlies and games when England get on top, he is struggling in games that really matter".

The bonus-point fourth try came with 11 minutes to go, when hooker Sean Cronin, only three minutes after replacing Best, dived over from the back of a rolling maul.

The Irish won their first Grand Slam in 1948 and also achieved the feat in 2009.

"I think Rory [Best] is desperate for Grand Slam because he feels he would be a bigger part of it now than he played back then".

With Jones seeking more power at the breakdown, however, and indicating on Saturday that he is considering making changes to this effect, Simmonds could see his chance of being on from kick-off recede.

Can anyone identify the last club game in which either played so effectively that, without knowing who they were, you thought "that guy should be playing for England"?

"We are a rugby team and no rugby team has an aura of invincibility about them". We're not sure [how bad it is].

"It's very muted upstairs".

"I was pleased with the effort today, we were in a position to win the game", he said, adding that any team was "fallible and has weakness".

IRELAND: R Kearney; K Earls, G Ringrose, B Aki, J Stockdale; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Best, T Furlong, James Ryan, D Toner, P O'Mahony, D Leavy, CJ Stander. The boot is on the other foot after a year ago and I'm sure they'll be licking their lips.

Scotland: Hogg 7; Kinghorn 7 (L Jones 29-36, 6), H Jones 6, Horne 6 (Grigg 72, 6), Maitland 6, Russell 7, Laidlaw 6 (Price 67, 6); Reid 5 (Bhatti 54, 6), McInally 7, Berghan 6 (Nel 54, 6); Gilchrist 6, Gray 8 (Swinson 71, 6); Barclay 7, Watson 8, Wilson 6 (Denton, 17, 6). I think we made twice as many line-breaks as them, so I don't think the result should tip the other way but I do think they were very close to getting right away a couple of times.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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