Rugby Union Expert & Columnist
Stuart Barnes' talking points: England questions remain ahead of Rugby World Cup
Watch England's final Quilter International against Italy, live on Sky Sports on Friday, September 6
Last Updated: 26/08/19 2:23pm
Sky Sports rugby union expert Stuart Barnes takes a look at the big issues from the weekend's internationals.
1. That was an outstanding performance by England and it makes me reiterate what I have said throughout 2019. If England are at, or very near, their best, they have a major chance of winning the World Cup.
But I have to reiterate the other side of the coin; that England have to be able to handle the momentum-shifting periods of pressure. This game did NOT address those issues.
Eddie Jones' team were superb in the first two and a half matches of the Six Nations. They were naive and inflexible in the second half against Wales and then Scotland.
Dazzling as Saturday's display was, it was only a week after England emptied their bench of some of their best players but failed to find a way through Wales. Maybe they will find the answers but as a journalist and not a cheerleader, it is important to remember questions remain to be answered.
2. Ireland may have added to any exaggerated sense of England excellence. They were terrible and 2019 has been a bad year for Ireland after their wondrous 2018.
Joe Schmidt's side looked a long way from that 2018 vintage through the course of the last Six Nations. They were lethargic against Italy in the first warm-up. They turned up against England - a rare first-phase try - but not for long.
Word is the Ireland team are one week behind England in terms of preparation but judging the events of Saturday, I'll stick with my feeling that it is Ireland who have left their best behind them.
3. Japan will have watched some of these warm-up games and thought 'well, just maybe...'
Scotland beat France at home, but suffered a few knocks and were far from convincing while Ireland have it all to prove. The 2019 hosts gave Scotland a game for an hour at Gloucester in 2015 before running out of steam.
The rest time after the win against South Africa was ridiculous. Hosts this time around, they have the clocks running to their chosen time frame. The more I think about this pool, the more I see at least one shock result.
4. Ireland struggled to contain the power of England and Wales at the breakdown in the last Six Nations. Schmidt decided to experiment against England by combining the South African, Jean Kleyn, in tandem with Iain Henderson at lock.
One steal by Henderson aside, it was an unmitigated flop. Peter O'Mahony, a lone line out wolf, was picked off by the superb Saracens combination of George Kruis and the immense Maro Itoje. James Ryan will obviously return to starting duties, but don't dismiss a starting berth for Devin Toner either.
But does that leave Ireland weak in the contact? Tadhg Beirne needs a start in Cardiff on Saturday to see whether he can address the worrying problems in the Irish back five.
5. The so-called 'Kamikaze Kids', Sam Underhill and Tom Curry worked quite beautifully together for the Curry try. The experiment was a success although with such dominance all over the park, it is difficult to judge how the two sevens system will stand up to the rigours of the World Cup.
With Sam Cane and Ardie Savea combining for New Zealand, and Michael Hooper and David Pocock a likely Australian pair of sevens, England wouldn't be the only team addressing the tackle and tackle area with two specialist opensides. It is an experiment worth pursuing.
6. So too the old one-two of best mates, George Ford and Owen Farrell. Their understanding of one another, the timing of their passing and running, the balance of their kicking game was first-rate all afternoon.
Manu Tuilagi thrived outside them. Henry Slade might not have enjoyed the game a great deal watching on, but Jones is developing a certain flexibility and I can see an England midfield where selection is based on the nature of the opposition and not an England pecking order.
7. Ireland would have looked a whole lot better with Johnny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw at 10 and 12, but Sexton is being cocooned in cotton wool. Henshaw has suffered his share of injuries and Conor Murray is struggling to find the form of 2018 and before.
Their half-backs drove them to their great feats of 2018. For one reason or another, there are doubts whether these peaks will ever be scaled again by Murray/Sexton.
8. Niggling concerns for England? Ben Youngs' form. In commentary, I tried to put it down to rust as a generous explanation for his sloppy game on Saturday, but his passing has been slow and sloppy for a while.
With only an inexperienced 32-year-old newcomer to Test rugby as an alternative - Willi Heinz - England look potentially weak in a crucial position.
Jones has placed great faith in the Leicester scrum-half for the best part of four years. Youngs needs to repay it.
9. Referee Nigel Owens missed a pretty clear forward pass from Youngs to Itoje for the 44th-minute try. In an ideal world, there wouldn't be errors, but for the moment at least we opt for humans and not robotic algorithms to referee a game.
You get the odd error with the Welshman, but you also get a game that flows and one in which the better teams almost always prevail. I'll take that over endless replays that remain subjective while killing the immediacy of excitement.
Use your own judgement or lose it. Owens, thank heavens, remains a user.
10. Look at cricket. The fear of getting it wrong distorts the ability of umpires. The decision not to give Ben Stokes out and change one of those epic stories that will go down through the ages was a pretty dreadful piece of officiating.
It looked out the moment Nathan Lyon bowled it. No Australian appeals left, no complaints from anyone, but surely officials have to be good enough to back themselves.
The umpire (I refrain from using his name because it's not a witch-hunt, but an example of a problem) can only have been scared that to raise the finger at that moment and be proved wrong. It would have been the end of his career and as for the immediate repercussions...
The pressure exerted by technology is as much threat as opportunity for sport.