The Wales captain, , has been hailed as "the northern hemisphere's Richie McCaw" after helping his country secure a triple crown at Twickenham for the first time. The table-topping Welsh now require victories over Italy and France in Cardiff next month to secure a Six Nations grand slam.
France's victory over Scotland at Murrayfield means Wales's final game at the Millennium Stadium is looming as this year's title decider. Regardless of the outcome the 23-year-old Warburton has been singled out as potentially a key figure for the British and Irish Lions when they tour Australia next year.
"I thought Warburton was outstanding," said Andy Irvine, the former Scotland fullback. "He was brilliant, with his defensive work and how clever he is at the breakdown. He is the northern hemisphere's ."
While Wales's Warren Gatland is already the firm favourite to coach the Lions, England's wants his team to use the "hurt" of their narrow defeat as motivation rather than settle for being plucky losers.
"We've got to take that hurt and put it into the next game," said Lancaster, whose players will regather on Monday evening in Loughborough to prepare for their fixtures against France and Ireland. "It was a big step forward in terms of intensity but equally the players are hurting because it was an opportunity, a game we could have won. The players recognise that. To go to France is going to be another step up for us."
Lancaster was also impressed by Owen Farrell's first Test start at fly‑half and admitted it presented him with a selection dilemma for the visit to Paris next week. "He's still a young player and he's still learning but, by and large, I thought it was a great first appearance for England at fly‑half," said Lancaster, who will be interviewed for the permanent coaching role next month.
"We've got some selection decisions going into France. Long term I think Owen's got a future both at 10 and 12. Certainly from an England point of view he looked comfortable at 10. We can't have a situation where we've just got a Charlie Hodgson or a Toby Flood. We've got to develop two or three."
Some England players still believe they should have been awarded the last‑gasp try which might have salvaged them a draw. David Strettle insisted he had grounded the ball and also suggested the referee, Steve Walsh should have awarded a late penalty against George North for deliberately knocking the ball into touch.
"I thought when they flipped me on my back I had got downward pressure. I felt the ball touch the floor," said the wing Strettle. "When they showed it on the big screen it looked like it went down as well. I was hoping the touch judge might have seen it because our physio was standing right next to him and he says it was grounded. If it is inconclusive, you have to go with the attacking team."
• This page was corrected on 27 February 2012 to replace a photo incorrectly said to show Sam Warburton with a picture that does show him.