England captain Owen Farrell said it is “exciting times” to be involved in Eddie Jones’ side after they ended Ireland’s Grand Slam hopes with a 24-12 victory at Twickenham.
Farrell insisted England have not felt under pressure to perform after their opening-round Guinness Six Nations defeat in France, and believes they are in a good place heading into the remaining two games in the Championship.
“I think we know what we’re capable of,” said Farrell.
“Against France we probably didn’t show the best of ourselves and the Scotland game was in bad conditions.
“We couldn’t wait to get stuck in today, especially against a proper opponent like Ireland.”
First-half tries from George Ford and Elliot Daly and a Farrell penalty gave England a deserved 17-0 lead at half-time, with Luke Cowan-Dickie grabbing a third for the hosts in the second period.
Ireland were unable to produce a turnaround, despite second-half scores from Robbie Henshaw and Andrew Porter.
With victory, England maintained hopes of winning a third Guinness Six Nations title under Eddie Jones and Farrell believes that they are only getting better.
“The pressure is from everybody else, not us,” added the 28-year-old centre.
“We are unbelievably happy with how it’s going in-house, we feel like we’re pushing forward and getting better.
“We couldn’t wait to play today. It’s nothing to do with outside pressure, it’s to do with us and how we’re preparing.”
One of the star performers at Twickenham was the eye-catching display by Farrell’s outside man, Manu Tuilagi, who made 91 metres – more than anybody else on the pitch.
“Any team in the world would want Manu [Tuilagi] and we’re lucky to have him. He’s in a good place right now and playing good rugby,” said Farrell.
“We will make sure we enjoy this win first – this is a big result for us and it’s brilliant to be back at home playing in front of this crowd.
“We’re just over halfway through and we’re in a good place and still building. It’s an exciting time.”
The defeat in London ended Ireland’s hopes of a second Grand Slam title in three years but they are still in contention.
Ireland captain Johnny Sexton admitted England’s strong first-half showing made things difficult for his side.
“They scored two tries from our mistakes – we knew the chip-kick was going to come,” said the fly-half.
“We were very disappointed in the first half but I’m proud of how the boys fought back in the second half.
“We were getting the ball on the back foot and we were trying to get the ball to the space on the edges and couldn’t get it there. It made us look silly at times.
“We need to have a look at that and try to be better. We have a big home game against Italy in a couple of weeks. If we can do the business there, there’s still a championship to fight for.”