Well it wasn't pretty and oh my goodness on a knife edge in that last ten minutes - but England did get over the line and for England fans how good does that feel? The first time England have won all five games in the Championship since 2003 the year we got the Slam and went on to win the World Cup.
As a proud Englishman I am ecstatic whilst still recognising there is lots to do bearing in mind Wales were within a whisker of snatching that game at Twickenham. I have heard and read lots of comments playing the achievement down saying all the other teams were poor or full of injuries. I am not buying that. It was a very good Scotland team who were unlucky not to pick up more wins. Although injury ravaged, Ireland have played well and their stand in players were none to shabby! France were poor but they did turn up and play in Paris and were hardly waving the England players through. Italy did deteriorate as the competition progressed and their injuries did take a toll but when we played them in Rome they had just come off from a thrilling game in Paris where they nearly beat the French, Believe me no Grand Slam is ever easy especially winning it away. There is no team that wants to stand by whilst England picks up the trophy in their stadium and will therefore dredge up every bit of doggedness and spirit to keep us out,
My congratulations must go to Eddie Jones who I think instilled self belief in the players. A strange commodity that - when it is missing it is very obvious and as I have said before - the 2003 team had it in bucket loads. It came from winning. We just sincerely believed that year we could beat anyone. It is something I know the All Blacks quite rightly believe and it helps you through when things do not go your way or you are not playing well. When we played New Zealand before the World Cup and went down to 13 men we still just felt we could not lose and did pull off a memorable victory.
My player of the tournament would probably be George Kruis who was monumental. Consistently good across every game and in the top stats for turnovers, line outs, tackles. Lots of others stood out across all the teams and names will start to be inked in for that Lions squad for next year. I think we may well see a few more English and Scottish names in that squad compared to the last tour and given some of the proven quality in the Wales and Ireland ranks it could be a sensational side.