Jon Sleightholme - Turnaround was simply amazing

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Take a bow Stuart Lancaster, Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell.

What you have achieved with this young and inexperienced group of men is nothing short of remarkable.

And all in the past eight weeks.

I don’t think any England fan in their wildest imaginations had us winning four games, three of which were away from home – a feat never achieved before – and coming within whisker of beating Wales, the new and well-deserved Grand Slam champions.

I said it from the first win in Scotland – pride is back in the jersey.

They are a team playing for each other, they are doing it with smiles on their faces and it really is heartening to see.

The debate about the future England coaching team is dead and buried.

If a big-name coach had come in and achieved what Lancaster and his team have done that individual would now be feted as a miracle worker.

It is something that should not be forgotten.

Perhaps Lancaster’s inexperience on the big stage has not held him back in terms of picking young hungry players.

An older head might not have taken the risks he has and we might not have seen the talents of Owen Farrell, Ben Morgan and Chris Robshaw released on the world of international rugby.

He should be applauded for that amongst many other things.

We do now look like we have a group of players that can build together towards the World Cup in 2015.

The big battle the RFU will have is with Saracens over the release of Andy Farrell on a permanent basis.

It is critical they get him.

Defensively, England have been excellent and that is down to the work of Farrell and the shape that his efforts have given them.

I think he is as important as Lancaster and Rowntree in the bigger scheme of things.

To be frank, I expected a much tighter game.

However, Ireland – a team with vastly more experience and no fear of playing at Twickenham any more – were humbled by the English pack.

I think that was probably the most impressive display I have seen for a long time from an English tight five.

Granted, Ireland lost the key to their scrum in Mike Ross.

But the way in which England utterly destroyed Ireland upfront totally ripped away any confidence they might have had.

It was quite simply a demolition job and it will be giving nightmares to the Ireland forwards for some time.

The first half of the game was the most instantly forgettable from the tournament so far.

It was almost like somebody had rubbed washing-up liquid all over the ball and I don’t think I have watched 40 minutes of an international game before with so many errors.

Ireland adapted better to the kick-and-chase game than their hosts.

But a mark of this young England team is their composure.

They came out in the second half and were much more controlled and accurate.

Much of that control was built on the scrum but as the game progressed so did the influence of England’s big ball carriers, particularly Ben Morgan.

I had billed this as the battle of the back rows last weekend but in reality it was all England.

Morgan was outstanding. He is such a bull of a No.8 who always seems to break the gainline.

Great England teams have always had a rock at No.8 and while it is far too early to put Morgan into the bracket of some of the greats like Dean Richards and Lawrence Dallaglio, he certainly looks to have the ability.

Tom Croft was again excellent, his spilled pass aside.

He is such an athlete and so unorthodox but that is what makes him a big threat.

When he gets the ball in the wider channels with some space he always causes problems.

Not a huge amount has been said or written about Chris Robshaw apart from his excellent leadership.

But every back-row combination needs at least one player who will totally sacrifice himself so the others can play to their strengths in other parts of the field.

Robshaw has been that man, grafting in every ruck and maul with a massively high tackle count and a totally selfless attitude which will endear him to all of his team-mates.

These things are not always spotted by the cameras but as a player on the pitch, you know who you really need to thank after a game for their efforts and Robshaw should be very proud of what he has achieved.

Whilst this is a clearly a weekend to congratulate Wales for a very well deserved Grand Slam, the story of the tournament is the development of this England team.

There is still lot for them to learn and lots of room for improvement and that’s what is exciting me the most.

Bigger tests are to come but nothing will faze this group of young men who have taken the first steps towards redemption for the England jersey.