George Ford believes England’s riotous draw with Scotland two years ago was a pivotal moment in the team’s discovery of how to cope with pressure. England had built a seemingly unassailable lead by storming 31-0 ahead, only for a breath-taking fightback orchestrated by Finn Russell to seize a 38-31 lead for the underdogs.
“It’s like we have some hand grenades in the back of a jeep and sometimes they go off when there’s a lot of pressure,” Ford said. “In terms of being under the most intense heat, to go through an experience like that was great for us really. We’ve noticed we’re a lot calmer in those situations. The crucial thing when you come to a situation like that is to understand what you need to do. The execution of it comes after.”
“We’re calmer and not so desperate to try to snatch to win the game. We understand the process and that our best chance of eventually scoring is to do all the basics and build some pressure,” he added. “Hopefully that’s good enough to get a try or penalty or whatever it may be. There’s room for improvement there, but it has felt a lot calmer. My try was the last play of the game and we had to do a lot of things in that last passage of play knowing that one mistake and the game would have been over.”