Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 September 2019

Billy Vunipola tells England to 'stay humble' after Ireland rout

England recorded their greatest winning margin and highest scoreline against Ireland on Saturday in their final warm-up before the Rugby World Cup in Japan

Billy Vunipola has urged England to keep their feet on the ground despite a record win over Ireland. Reuters
Billy Vunipola has urged England to keep their feet on the ground despite a record win over Ireland. Reuters

Billy Vunipola has told England to "stay humble" after their 57-15 demolition of Ireland raised hopes of a potential Rugby World Cup triumph later this year.

Eddie Jones' side scored eight tries against an Ireland team regarded as World Cup contenders for the tournament in Japan.

Recording their greatest winning margin and highest scoreline against Ireland was an encouraging sign for England in the third of four warm-up Tests.

Manu Tuilagi was unstoppable and Joe Cokanasiga helped himself to two tries, but it was the pack who really carried the fight to opponents who missed the opportunity to claim first place in the world rankings.

However, Saracens No 8 Vunipola is wary of the acclaim that will accompany the outcome of their Twickenham send-off.

"The biggest thing is for us to stay humble. Now everyone is going to pump up our tyres because we did well this week, but it was only last week that everyone was hammering us," he said.

"The biggest danger is the other side of the coin. We need to keep our feet firmly on the ground and keep working.

"At the moment we're in a good place but I don't think a good place can win you a World Cup and we want to keep improving.

"We didn't let up. There were times that we could have taken our foot off the accelerator, but this showed we can take teams to a place where they're not comfortable.

"We're pretty happy with it but satisfied is probably the wrong term, we always want to improve. There's parts of our game that probably let us down."

A shocked Joe Schmidt said there was a malaise about his Ireland team following Saturday's Twickenham rout.

The 53-year-old New Zealander looked on in horror as his side - who were almost at full-strength - conceded eight tries to a rampant England.

He said his side, who last year won the Six Nations Grand Slam and beat world champions New Zealand, had looked "dishevelled".

"There's a malaise about the team, but you can't blame individuals," he said.

Schmidt who will step down after the World Cup said he had expected the players to be a bit "heavy-legged".

"It hurts right now," he said.

Schmidt, who said prop Cian Healy avoid any extensive damage despite a sprained ankle, faces a double header with Wales prior to jetting off to Japan.

Wales comprehensively out-played the Irish when they sealed the Grand Slam in Cardiff earlier this year.

"It will be Gatts' [Wales coach Warren Gatland] last match there," Schmidt said.

"It will be a bit of cauldron for us to step into and a big challenge for the players to turn things round."

Updated: August 25, 2019 06:11 PM

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