Mature England aim to lay ghosts to rest

Tue, Feb 5, 2013, 00:00

View from the opposition:England have not won in Ireland since 2003 and were denied a Grand Slam on their last visit in 2011.

However, there’s a lot of talk of “maturity” and lessons learned coming from Stuart Lancaster’s camp as the Chariot closes in on Sunday’s showdown with Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

"This is a completely different team going to Dublin from 2011, with a completely different mentality," - England coach Stuart Lancaster dismissing the notion his side will be blown away in Dublin as they were two years ago.

"Playing the Irish in Dublin is a unique challenge. We've got to be able to deal with the emotion of the occasion and still think clearly, making good, accurate decisions. That will be the true test of our maturity. It's a great challenge for us. - Lancaster again on what needs to be different this time.

"I'm a far better player now after that experience. To lose the Grand Slam is never nice. I got sin-binned and things just didn't go my way. As hard as it is to deal with those moments and games, I am a strong believer that as you make mistakes you get better. - England scrumhalf Ben Youngs who was yellow-carded in 2011 after throwing the ball away. He admitted afterwards he "played like an idiot".

"It was a lot to handle but I certainly came out the other side a far better player. I'd rather have taken a Grand Slam. But saying that, you have to go through those hard times and defeats because it makes you learn very, very quickly. This side want to minimise that - we want to learn whilst winning." - Youngs again.

"(Brian) O'Driscoll is playing exceptionally well at the moment. I thought that first half Ireland produced (against Wales) was exceptional. We know they are capable of doing that. - England skills coach Mike Catt.

"Defence is across the board. Everybody knows their roles. We need to focus on our attacking game too, which went pretty well against the Scots, and try and starve them of the ball so they can't do what they are good at. It is a little game of chess we have to try and win." - Catt on the little things that need to go right on Sunday.

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