Johnson slams underperforming England
June 12, 2010
England hooker Steve Thompson loses patience with the Australian front-row © Getty Images
England manager Martin Johnson slammed his underperforming players following their 27-17 loss to Australia in Perth.
England's dominant scrum secured two penalty tries against Australia's rookie front-row, who boasted two caps between them at kick-off, but the tourists were outclassed across the field by the Wallabies' sharp backline.
"I think that is as harsh as I have been with them," Johnson said. "We said we should be angry with ourselves. If you give it a decent shot and get beaten [that is one thing] but when you add to it in the way we did it is disappointing.
"The scrum played a big factor in the game but not enough for us to win. We make it too easy for the opposition. You have to be very good down here to win games. We didn't help ourselves. We started very poorly. We were more than a little off the pace, gave them a lot of chances and put ourselves in trouble.
"We had enough chances to put ourselves in the game. Their composure on the ball was better. It is accuracy and execution. Their line speed was better and took away our time on the ball. But if you concede three tries you are probably not going to win. The missed tackle count was not healthy. We have got to be better. We can't expect to get two penalty tries every week."
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans praised his front-row, props Salesi Ma'afu and Ben Daley and hooker Saia Faingaa, for fighting hard in defence despite their shortcomings at the set-piece.
"It took an awful lot of courage from our group to win that game," he said. "Our lineout was very good and when you consider that we had made just nine tackles at the 30 minute mark, that contributed to our ability to defend when we had to.
"It is fair to say our group will be a lot better for the experience. I thought the front row did pretty well considering what was asked of them physically and the courage they had to show. Given they were on the receiving end at scrum time they didn't go into their shells. They kept coming physically in defence and they had the courage to play when they had the opportunity. We got up and that is Test rugby and that is the only thing that matters."
There was more woe for England with the news that wing Mark Cueto had been cited for a dangerous tackle on Berrick Barnes early in the game. The case will be heard on Monday morning, and could result in Cueto's suspension for the second and final Test, in Sydney on Saturday.
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