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Danny Care reveals the England dressing room reaction to Ireland defeat

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You do not need to tell England's Rugby Union squad that a year is a long time in their sport.

Twelve months ago they were Six Nations champions and heading to Dublin looking to claim a prestigious Grand Slam.

On that occasion they were also going for the world record of 19 successive test matches wins in a row.

Unfortunately, it did not go to plan, as they fell 13-9 to Ireland.

On Saturday at Twickenham, they had the perfect opportunity to gain revenge as the Irish were playing for a Grand Slam of their own.

However, England failed to spoil Ireland's party on St Patrick's Day as the visitors ran out 24-15 to complete a wonderful achievement.

It also rounded up a dismal last few weeks for England, who had lost three test matches in a row, following earlier defeats to Scotland and France.

Despite the bitter taste in their months, Scrum-half Danny Care said that the squad had to grit their teeth and accept the reality that they were outplayed by the better team.

England v Ireland - NatWest Six Nations

After being forced to watch the Ireland players deservedly celebrate their triumph, Care revealed attention in the England dressing room quickly turned to how they would react to their disappointment.

"It was tough to watch, you know," he told BBC's Rugby Union Weekly Podcast.

"To see a rival team, in your stadium with all their fans still there, lift a trophy that we'd put everything in to win again.

"We all walked back in, sat back down. Dylan [Hartley, the England captain] stood up and said that the true test of our character is now how we respond to this.

England v Ireland - NatWest Six Nations

"We've had it great for the last few years and everything has gone for us - everyone has said how great we are - and now it's completely turned.

"Everyone is saying how bad we are and it's up to us to stick together. This was the exact message that Dylan first said; and then Eddie [Jones, the England head coach] said.

"Eddie said it was now all about how we react now, when we go back to our clubs and how hard we are going to work to be better players in all departments."

The words of Care is what every English fan would want to hear.

A true test of a good side is to look at how they are able to respond when they go through some adversity.

England v Ireland - NatWest Six Nations

That is the big challenge for Eddie Jones and his coaching team as they head to South Africa in June for three test matches.

There have been calls for the English selectors to rest the players who played on the gruelling 2017 British and Ireland Lions tour as history has shown there is a detrimental effect on their performances.

The stats back that up this year as the fifth-placed finish was England's worst since the Six Nations begun in 2000.

England v Ireland - NatWest Six Nations

World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward discussed the troubles he went through in managing the issue.

“As the England coach, I did not like the Lions one bit.

"You do have a bad year [afterwards], the stats will say that.”

So perhaps it is just a matter of time before England bounce back...

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Topics:
Rugby Union
Ireland Rugby
Six Nations
Dylan Hartley
England Rugby

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