England coach Brian Ashton and his players give their thoughts on their 43-13 defeat to Ireland at Croke Park on Saturday.
“The scoreline would suggest we got a right hiding – and we did. I went into the Ireland dressing room and told them they completely outplayed us.
“I’m very disappointed. I said how we made mistakes against Scotland and Italy and that we’d need to go up two or three gears if we were to beat Ireland. But we didn’t do that and were punished by a side that was sharper than we were. They were more physical and fresher.
“But we were stuffed and we have to take it on the chin. We were outplayed by the better side. They were better up front. I thought their forwards played very well.
“They scrummaged better than in previous games and when you have a lineout like theirs you’re well on your way.
“We knew it would be a difficult game but hoped to gain parity or dominance in some areas of the pitch.
“They looked a lot more physical than us and they were more physical in the collisions. I didn’t see that result coming.
“I don’t feel embarrassed or humiliated. I feel there’s a lot of work to do, but we already knew that.”
“We knew the Irish would come at us and they came at us hard, from the start. It was difficult out there. I mean you do what you can to try and stem the tide but it just didn’t happen for us.
“I can guarantee you that it wasn’t for the want of trying or a lack of endeavour. But we have to stand up collectively and individually and accept this, we didn’t perform but that’s not to take anything away from the Irish, they were outstanding.
“We ended up chasing the game and that was the hardest part. Once you are chasing the game, you’re in trouble because you can’t put your own stamp on it.
“But I’m not going to stand here and make excuses, we were not good enough, that performance was not good enough, Ireland had the measure of us in most areas of the pitch.”
“Time and time again we tried to get through their gain-line but they stood firm. At half-time we spoke of getting our heads right and coming out with more purpose.
“But they completely outplayed us in many areas and even though we never stopped trying, they just seemed to have that extra gear.
“When we did make it through their defence, they regrouped very well and got numbers back in force. It’s a disappointing game for us but we’ll have to get over it now and look ahead to the rest of the competition. There is still a lot to play for.”