Steve Borthwick accepts harsh lessons will have to learned from England’s disappointing Guinness Six Nations campaign, but remains optimistic the future is bright.
England won two of their five matches for the third Championship in a row, with defeats to Scotland, France and then Ireland on Super Saturday.
Borthwick has only been in charge for three months and admits his maiden Championship was an eye-opening experience.
He now has under six months to prepare for the World Cup and promised England will be much stronger than they were in the Guinness Six Nations.
“We’ll debrief this Six Nations thoroughly, take what lessons we take from it and be clear on our direction going forward,” he said.
“The team is not where it could be and, while we’re judging against teams that have used this four-year cycle tremendously well, that’s not the position England are in.
“I can’t do anything about the past. I intend we will be working really hard to put England in the best position possible and I’m excited about what these players can do for the World Cup.”
Reeling from a record home defeat to France in Round 4, England were far better against Ireland and shaded the first half under Freddie Steward’s 40th-minute red card.
That put England on the back foot but they kept the score to 10-9 at the hour-mark before Johnny Sexton steered Ireland to an historic Grand Slam.
“I thought the players adapted to the situation very well, clearly that against the number one side in the world, the space became apparent when the fatigue took its toll, but the players adapted well,” he added.
“I think the team learned a good bit this week and put it out on the pitch today. I have seen growth in the team.”
Ellis Genge, vice-captain in Dublin, agreed and believes England leave the Aviva Stadium with their head held high following a spirited display that hopefully draws a line under last week’s horror-show against France.
“We got a few belly shots last week from outside the camp; people taking a few digs at us and questioning whether or not we are up to scratch,” he said.
“Well, we just stuck with the best team in the world for 40-odd minutes with 14 men. I’m really proud of the boys.”