The harsh reality is that come Saturday evening one of England or Ireland will be nursing their wounds in defeat and will head into this Rugby World Cup off the back of two straight losses. The thought of it being England is too painful to think about right now, by hook or by crook England must muscle past Ireland on home soil.
The fact that the Parisian crunch didn't go to plan means that emotions are running even higher than they would have been if England had delivered the performance that expected and as such secured a victory. We all have our opinions but at that end of the day they are just that and Stuart Lancaster and his coaching team will be the ones to decide.
England's starting XV to face France this Saturday contains no less than 13 changes to the one that delivered the most magnificent finale to the 2015 RBS 6 Nations competition. This statistic is not set to alarm anyone instead it should be encouraging for it once again highlights the depth of talent housed at the top level of English rugby.
For the past two weeks England Rugby have swapped the leafy suburbs of Bagshot in Surrey for the place commonly referred to as the 'Mile-High City', Denver in Colorado. The air may be thinner, with a documented 17% less oxygen than cities at sea level, however the focus and intensity of training has continued to rise and from a coach's perspective England are totally on track as Andy Farrell shared on their final Friday over the pond...
I believe touch rugby and rugby in general is an incredibly positive and exciting team sport and the values involved in rugby are crucial for achieving anything in life. The values learnt through team skills, playing a role in a group and learning how to win or lose cannot be underestimated in terms of their value going forward. Whether you are young, old, male or female, the skills and values you can learn through rugby are hugely beneficial. The O2 Touch Tours are all about introducing people to rugby in the run up to the World Cup, taking place this year in England and Wales... and with the tournament fast approaching I believe England are in good shape.
With an intense camp and three warm up games to go England are where they should be going into such a daunting and defining period. From this point on every single side will raise their games to the next level courtesy of an extended period of training time together and the question will be how much more do England have to showcase
Now is the time for England to march on from their developmental stage and deliver, these were the overarching messages from the men in charge at the first squad announcement of the year just 14 days ago. In last year's RBS 6 Nations England matured greatly and to be true contenders come September that is what they will need to do again this year.
Yesterday it was announced that Stuart Lancaster and his core team, Andy Farrell, Mike Catt and Graham Rowntree have all had their contracts extended until the 2019/2020 season. When he made this announcement, the Chairman of the RFU, Ian Richie, used the following words; "we believe this is entirely the right decision for the future of England Rugby" and I have to say I totally agree with him and here is why.