(Reuters) - England turned in a long overdue performance to demolish Scotland and win the Six Nations title on Saturday, but have a lot of hard work ahead if they are to beat Ireland and secure a second grand slam in a row, former coach Clive Woodward said.
Eddie Jones’ men were ruthless during their 61-21 home win over the Scots, but Ireland will have an “ambush planned” when the teams clash in Dublin next week, said Woodward, who coached England to the World Cup triumph in 2003.
England can also set a tier-one record of successive wins with victory in Dublin, after Saturday’s triumph drew them level with New Zealand on 18.
“That performance, and in particular a ruthlessly efficient and effective first half, has been brewing for a while. In fact it was overdue...,” Woodward wrote in his column in the Daily Mail on Sunday.
“You don’t win 18 tests in a row by being anything other than quite exceptional... This is still early days for a developing team, they are one year in to a four-year plan, and their potential is positively scary.”
Ireland are joint second with France, eight points behind England, and Woodward said no longer being in the hunt for the title would ease the pressure on the home side when England visit on March 18.
”I would have much preferred Ireland to have beaten Wales on Friday which would seen the Irish chasing the Championship themselves in front of their own fans“ he added. ”That would have brought its own pressure.
”Now the Irish are free to make mischief and life as difficult as possible for England as Eddie Jones’ team also look to make it a world record 19 test wins on the trot.
“For the second time in five months the Irish can go against national stereotype and act as party poopers.”
Ireland stunned New Zealand 40-29 in November, bringing an end to the All Blacks’ record 18-match winning streak, which England tied with their victory over Scotland.
The same opponents now stand in England’s way of edging ahead of New Zealand in the record books.
“The Irish will have an ambush planned, they have 80 minutes to resurrect their season and I can guarantee you Eddie will not consider this a successful season unless they get the job done in Dublin,” he said.
“Great sides win big matches on the road.”
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty