When it comes to their rugby the English do one thing very well.

They talk it up with great gusto from the blokes in the boozer to those who get tickets to the games and the fourth estate typing the hyperbole into their laptops.

An opening Six Nations victory in Dublin over the reigning champions Ireland offered all the ingredients to sound off about those big boys in white.


It was a rousing contest and a very good result for England at the start of a year when all internationals are tram stops on the pathway to the World Cup in Japan.

The result will give England confidence about their game, style and coach Eddie Jones and his new defensive sidekick John Mitchell.

But if that's the best game England have played in Jones' reign as multiple reports claimed then my sympathy goes out to their fans with a warning the team needs to play a great deal better before they bring out the polish for the Webb Ellis Cup.

Ireland were ordinary beyond belief, they were flat and apart from flanker Peter O'Mahony's expletive-laden rant at Kyle Sinckler, couldn't find any volume about their play. They scarcely got into England's 22 and with the visitors pounding out the dominant tackles they lacked ideas to break those shackles.

Referee Jerome Garces did little about defenders stepping over the offside line and he got no apparent advice from his assistants either.

He and other officials have to police the offside line as rigidly as they penalise high tackles and serial breakdown offenders otherwise the quality of matches deteriorates quickly.

Space is very tight in games of this magnitude when defenders spread across the park and rush to shut down any room and those who buck the offside traps should be penalised, warned then sin-binned.

England beat that line brilliantly and early with Owen Farrell's pass to set up Jonny May's try but chances for both teams were lost through rust, lack of trust and mistakes.

May has been a fine wing for some time and Henry Slade looks a very accomplished centre but the backs had to work a lot with scraps from broken play rather than more of May's opening salvo which upset the Dublin ferment.


The slabs up front kept pounding and their work bashed Ireland's resolve and resistance. The massive Vunipola brothers, Maro Itoje, Jamie George and Mark Wilson kept going and while not fully sharp are fitter than previous years.

They took so much belief back with them but they'll face a question this weekend at Twickenham against France which will recur throughout the year.

It will be no different for every team until one reaches the victory podium in Japan in early November.