Angry Johnson fires warning shot
September 18, 2011
Manu Tuilagi ran in one of England's six tries © Getty Images
England boss Martin Johnson was far from impressed following England's six try win over Georgia warning his charges that they need to improve their standards or face crashing out of the Rugby World Cup early.
England withstood a spirited assault from Georgia to win 41-10 and score six tries - but Johnson could barely contain his frustration at his side's performance. Although England led 17-10 at the interval, courtesy of two Shontayne Hape tries and a Toby Flood penalty, the Georgians bossed the first half.
The Lelos scored a deserved try through No.8 Dimitri Basilaia but they could not punish England's poor discipline, as they once again leaked penalties. Fly-half Merab Kvirikashvili missed five shots at goal which saved England from staring down the barrel of a potentially embarrassing defeat.
England upped the urgency after half time and sealed the victory and a bonus point with scores from Delon Armitage, Manu Tuilagi and two from Chris Ashton. "I am a bit annoyed," said Johnson. "We were sloppy at times today. It is a simple game and at times we made it more difficult and it was sloppy.
"It just annoys me. I don't want to be that type of team. If I am happy with those standards then we will go home quite early - and if we are happy with those standards we will go home early. We have to be tough on ourselves.
"We were way behind in the penalty count early on and that kept them in our territory and gave them shots. We can't do that, it's not good enough. If ever we needed to understand what the game is about at this level, the big game of the weekend - Ireland against Australia - indicated what it is about.
"The bigger the game you play, the more simple it is - maintain possession, don't give away penalties, build pressure in all aspects of the game and you will give yourself a chance. We need to be rehearsing that."
England were penalised heavily against Argentina last week and found their way out of jail because the Pumas missed a total of six shots at goal. Johnson bemoaned England for once again not being "smart" enough.
"It is just frustrating. The guys were over-eager but they have got to learn," Johnson said . "If everyone gives one penalty away that is too many and we are in that mode.
"At scrum it was a binding issue and when the ref is on your case there he is going to be looking at you. That sort of stuff kills you. Some guys were a little over-eager to try and make plays and make something happen. We need to be a little bit more patient and trust our defence.
"We gave away too many opportunities for them to either put the pressure back on or kick at goal. That wasn't good enough. We have a short week now to get ready for Romania."
Georgia coach Richie Dixon was proud of his side's effort, particularly as it came just four days after their opening World Cup clash against Scotland. Dixon felt Georgia deserved more from the game than a six-try defeat.
"We certainly demonstrated we can play this game but are a little bit disappointed - we have to learn to convert our pressure and territory into points," said Dixon, the former Scotland coach. "I thought we put an awful lot into the game and didn't get much out but we also didn't take our opportunities.
"I spoke with Merab after the game. He is a very reliable goalkicker and he is disappointed because he usually puts them through."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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