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MALLETT: ENGLAND BUILDING WORLD CUP MOMENTUM

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England did not finish the 2015 RBS 6 Nations as champions but they can take a lot of encouragement going into the World Cup later this year.

Young guys like George Ford and Jonathan Joseph have come into the team and not just settled in, but in fact stood out as two of their most important players.

Their attacking game looks to be in great shape, running in seven tries against a French team that before then had only conceded two in the entire Championship is very impressive.

It's not all good news for England however, conceding eleven tries over the five games will be giving Andy Farrell - the defence coach - some real nightmares.

They will need to tighten up defensively moving forward and the lineout is another area to improve on, it cost them tries at both ends of the pitch during the Championship.

But with injured players to return to the squad England are building an enviable strength in depth and they look well placed to challenge the southern hemisphere sides come the World Cup.

Ireland were crowned champions for the second year in a row, an impressive achievement and in beating Scotland they showed a more expansive style of play than we had seen before.

But do I think they have the ability to go and win the World Cup? If Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray are on form then they are a real threat.

I do still think they need a bit more variety to their game however, but that will come with time as Joe Schmidt continues to build towards the World Cup.

England might have the better squad but what Ireland have is something that is hard to teach, they understand their opponents and how to go about winning games.

Wales meanwhile can only have themselves to blame for not winning the Grand Slam.

They should never have lost to England from such a position of strength. Leading 16-8 at half-time and dominating possession and territory they should have seen the game out.

Credit to England for playing well, their second-half performance was superb but Wales will feel they have missed a real opportunity there.

They have fantastic big ball carriers all over the pitch while their second half against Italy showed they can throw the ball around with the best of them when required.

They finished the tournament like a train and will take a lot of confidence into the World Cup. Wales, Australia and England are all in the same Pool at the World Cup, what a disaster that one of those teams will not be making the quarter finals.

France have come good at the end of this Championship, it would appear they like a more open style of play and they certainly gave England some problems.

Scoring five tries at Twickenham is no mean feat but their goal kicking has been a cause for concern all Championship and Saturday against England was no exception.

They will need to sort that out before the World Cup because they left a lot of points out on the pitch and you cannot afford to do that in knockout rugby.

Philippe Saint-Andre has France playing a reactive brand of rugby, they play in accordance with how the opposition set up. Open rugby seemed to bring the best out of them and they will need to properly define how they want to play to challenge at the World Cup.

There is then a bit of a drop off before we get to the last two teams in the table, Scotland and Italy.

I cannot see Scotland being a real contender at the World Cup, the big challenge for them will be to ensure that they beat Samoa and get out of their group - I can't see them going much further than that.

Their set-piece let them down time and again during this year's RBS 6 Nations, the lineout failed at key moments, their mauls carried no real threat and their scrum was in real trouble against Ireland.

Combine that with an underachieving back line - even though I do like the look of Finn Russell - and it is easy to see why they struggled.

Italy meanwhile can take some comfort from their performances - scoring three tries against England was impressive and beating Scotland in the final minute was a great moment.

But their front-row power, for so long a hallmark of the Italian game, is not the force it once was while their lineout misfired badly throughout. Without Sergio Parisse they looked leaderless against Wales so he remains as integral to their plans as ever before.

Throughout the RBS 6 Nations, the Accenture analysis team, which includes Nick Mallett, will be providing fans with insight and analysis to see beyond standard match data. Follow @AccentureRugby and download the Official RBS 6 Nations App

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