The future looks bright after winning our Irish war of attrition
OF ALL the victories this England side have had, winning in Ireland is easily their most significant.
It wasn't a classic game, but victories in Dublin don't come easily and this really establishes this team's credentials as potential world beaters.
Remember, Ireland had destroyed Wales for 40 minutes in Cardiff the week before, so for England to go there and win a game that basically turned into a battle of attrition makes it even more satisfying.
Yet again it was the reliability of England's Owen Farrell with the boot that got them through.
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Having a nailed-on kicker in the side does so much not only for England's confidence, but also influences the opposition.
Ireland's build-up would have focused on Farrell, particularly not giving penalties away in the strike zone, and when you go into a game with that in mind it limits a side's freedom to play rugby.
It's the first time England have had this luxury since Jonny Wilkinson.
It means they have such strong foundations to build from because they are guaranteed a double figures points contribution to start from, which in international rugby is critical.
All the great teams have a great kicker in the XV. A great kicker doesn't necessarily make a great team, but it's a great place to start.
It's why I went on so much last season about Freddie Burns sorting out his kicking consistency, which to his credit he has done, making Gloucester a far more dangerous prospect this season.
Of course Farrell is now among the first names on the England team-sheet, which makes life a bit more difficult for Burns.
But as I've said so many times before, Stuart Lancaster has to find a way to get both in the team, because Burns' threat allied to Farrell's reliability is a frightening prospect.
I was unsure about the way this England team was being spoken about ahead of the Six Nations as potential World Cup winners.
But now I am convinced. Lancaster's regime has set England on exactly the right track and if they keep going like this, there will be plenty to get excited about come the World Cup in 2015.