Defeat to Ireland will only improve England, says coach Eddie Jones
Coach Eddie Jones insists England will ultimately prosper from seeing a place in history denied by Ireland's grand slam ambush in Dublin.
A 13-9 defeat at the Aviva Stadium brought the Six Nations to a fittingly captivating climax and left the champions stranded alongside New Zealand as they sought to surpass the 18-test record run set by the All Blacks last year.
It was the first defeat of Jones' reign and the head coach views it as an important learning experience as he plots England's route to World Cup glory in 2019.
"We are 14 months into a four-year project. We have been chuffed with the results we have had, but realism tells us we have still got a lot to do," Jones said.
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"We were caught in certain areas by Ireland and full credit goes to them. We will learn from it.
"We are going to have more setbacks as we go to the World Cup. How many teams have a 90 per cent winning record at test level?
"There are not too many, the All Blacks are the only ones and we have been doing that since the last World Cup.
"We are batting at a pretty good average - even Don Bradman got zero when he played his last [cricket] test. Obviously we are disappointed - but we will fight another day. It is not the end of the world.
"That match was a like a World Cup final and we weren't good enough. We're better off having that experience now than we are in Yokohama Stadium on November 2 at 8pm in 2019.
Victory in Dublin would have delivered the first back-to-back grand slams of the Six Nations era, but rattled England were well beaten by impassioned hosts who played with greater intensity.
It was a repeat of Dublin 2011, but Jones refused to criticise players who had amassed 18 consecutive test wins.
"Be proud of yourselves, boys," was the message the Australian gave to his team in the changing room.
"We are Six Nations champions, back-to-back which is a fantastic achievement. We're joint world record holders, but we weren't good enough against Ireland. And we have to accept we weren't good enough."