Steve Borthwick may be 15 months and 20 games into his tenure as head coach, but at long last England delivered his blueprint for the future in one of the most significant Twickenham victories in years.

With ferocity in defence, imagination in attack and a relentless work ethic and, they tore down Ireland’s Grand Slam hopes with arguably their finest Guinness Men’s Six Nations win since they beat the same opponents on the road in 2019.

The importance of both the result and the performance was clear after the game. Captain Jamie George had tears in his eyes, No.8 Ben Earl spoke about vindication for all their hard work and Borthwick – a coach that keeps his feet on the ground rather than his head in the sky – even let his mind wander to Round 5 and a potential shot at the title.

Ireland are still the favourites and could be champions by the time England kick off in France but just to be in contention is a success for England, considering where they started last year.

Borthwick inherited a team that had not won more than two Six Nations games in a campaign since 2020, and with a World Cup on the immediate horizon that forced him to stick with the tried and trusted.

He marshalled England to a commendable third place but this year was always going to be the key year as he shaped the team his way. Regardless of what happens in France next week, he has a statement win to fall back on.

Indeed, if Borthwick is a history buff then he will already be drawing parallels to the Ireland team that beat England in 2017.

The picture was eerily similar. Then, it was England seeking that historic second successive Grand Slam, and Ireland the spirited home team with their backs against the wall.

Ireland tore into England, hurried and harried them into a catalogue of errors in a tight match against the backdrop of a frenzied crowd desperate to knock their old enemy off their perch.

That famous 13-9 win was the catapult for an Ireland Grand Slam the following year and, while England are not as far along their journey as Ireland were then, there is a sense this could be a turning point after years of frustration.

"It's been a tough week and I'm lost for words a bit. I am so proud of this team, we came under a lot of negativity after losing to Scotland,” captain George said.

"We talked about making Twickenham great again and how good is this. It's the best possible end to a tough few weeks for me.

"We have known that something special was coming, we had a huge amount of belief. Are we one of the best teams in the world? No. But, do we have the best people in place - absolutely.

"We have a tough challenge going away to France. If we cannot take belief off that performance then we will never be able to - that was special."

With their backs against the wall following that fourth successive Calcutta Cup defeat to Scotland, England had no choice but to turn and fight.

On the eve of this Championship, George made a lot of noise about the sub-par match-day experience at Twickenham and – while an upbeat pre-match set-list and a Rag n Bone Man half-time show can warm-up a crowd – only the rugby can truly keep them happy.

There was natural concerns when Jack Crowley kicked Ireland ahead inside two minutes but England hit back with a fabulous try, sparked by Tommy Freeman withstanding a huge hit from Calvin Nash that saw the Ireland winger bounce to the floor, and resulted in Ollie Lawrence dashing to the corner.

It set the tone for an afternoon that required mental resilience, physical authority and a dollop of fortune on top.

“They have worked exceptionally hard since we came together. We have improved each week, but we had a tangible reward and that’s important,” Borthwick said.

“It’s important for the supporters and Jamie has spoken of bringing them on the journey with us.

“When I arrived, we spoke about going through phases. Phase one was to build a team to win the World Cup, this is phase is building a new one. This was an important evolution in the shaping of this team, regardless of what happens next week."

Of that, there can be no doubt. While England’s team was still littered with experienced players, like George Ford, Maro Itoje and 100-cap Danny Care, it was the next generation that stood up the most.

Lawrence scored a first-half try and ran with power and purpose, Ollie Chessum disrupted Ireland’s lineout, George Martin tackled all day and packed a punch at every breakdown, and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso looked right at home on his first Test start.

"We knew from the beginning if we played our best game we would have a chance. Everything came together today, we are very fortunate,” Earl said.

"We've been training like that every day, sometimes it doesn't translate onto the pitch, people don't see half the stuff we do, but they can write what they want.

"I am just so pleased, that's where we can take this team.

"I am working hard, we are all working hard. Playing the best team in the world it brings the best out of you, credit to Ireland and credit to the fans."

England’s next challenge is to ensure this is not a false dawn, that this is the launchpad for a new era – just as Ireland did in 2017.

To France they go.