(Reuters) - England's Six Nations win over champions Ireland was a step in the right direction but they must continue to improve if they are to have any chance of World Cup success this year, defence coach John Mitchell has said.
England, who earned high praise for their 32-20 win in Dublin, next face a France side still smarting from defeat to Wales in their opener and Mitchell said they had to be wary.
"We have to back up our performances before we can talk about any World Cup... we just have to get better," he told British media.
"We have to keep our eyes on the road, because when you take your eyes off the road other things can happen. It's a challenge at the weekend and we have to prove to ourselves that we can be consistent."
England made 181 tackles and won despite having less possession than Ireland, and Mitchell said their defensive solidity was a platform for the team going forward.
"It's infectious when you get it right," Mitchell added.
"Defence reveals how much the team means to you and how much those around you mean to you - how much you care about them. It's not just the tackle, it's what the pressure creates."
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)