"Ireland are so good in the contact, holding us up, getting over the ball so we've got to be physically ready for them".
The broken nature of the game made it hard for either team to produce moments of real quality and Jonny May's stabbed kick into the dead ball area was probably the closest either side came to a try in the first half - and Elliot Daly was a good few metres away from that.
It was a nervy affair for Ireland, having lost a 12 point half-time lead in the second half.
A Jacob Stockdale double has helped Ireland to a bonus point win over Scotland as their Grand Slam hopes remain alive.
It was Joe Dunleavy's first 6 Nations start for his country, and the Letterkenny man put in a solid performance to help his team to victory.
"Last year we got caught cold".
Blair Kinghorn's try did narrow the lead to 21-8 with a well-worked try in the 51st minute, but Ireland were simply more clinical and there was a sense of elation when a lineout move in the corner resulted in Cronin, nearly on his knees, going over.More news: Google Maps Mario Kart: How to Get Nintendo Navigation
England conceded 16 penalties against France - a statistic boss Eddie Jones will be far from thrilled with.
Scotland have won just two games outside of Edinburgh and Rome since the tournament was expanded to six team the following year and opened the current campaign with a 34-7 hammering from Wales.
Scotland could argue that they deserved better than a 20-point defeat but handling errors let them down at crucial times as three scores were left on the Dublin turf.
But after the early stages, it became clear that England were to take a pragmatic approach to the game in the wake of a chastening trip to Murrayfield.More news: Formerly Imprisoned Turpin Daughter Performed Songs On Secret YouTube Channel
France has traditionally capitalised following a British and Irish Lions tour, as the home nations' best players battle fatigue after a long season.
"We have to look at that".
"We're very proud of how the team played but there is a realisation that we have more work to do", Townsend said. All eyes are now on the Stade de France.
Centre Mathieu Bastareaud is the heaviest back in this year's Championship at 19 stone, but ominously for England he won four turnovers against Italy. But there was a lot of energy and a lot of will from the players.More news: Obstruction Case Against Trump Strengthens After He Asked Witnesses about Interviews
Ireland's tussle with Scotland looks to be the pick of the fourth round of matches and then Schmidt's men travel to Twickenham for their final game and a tilt at immortality. "We didn't take the opportunity to score points", the Australian said.