Johnson bemoans leaky England defence
June 13, 2009
Steve Borthwick's England endured a tough time in Salta © Getty Images
England manager Martin Johnson bemoaned his side's fragile defence after Argentina levelled their two-Test series with a 24-22 win in Salta. Fly-half Andy Goode kicked 17 points but was also guilty of a missed tackle that lead to the Pumas' second try.
"This game was always going to be different from the first Test we won at Old Trafford because Argentina are a proud team, especially when they're at home," he said. "The first try hurt us but it was the second half one that really killed us because it meant we were 21-3 behind.
"We shouldn't concede tries like that. We handled the line-out drive well but it was a poor try. You have to make them work a lot harder to score than that but the guys battled hard and played very well to come back in the second half.
"Argentina played with a lot of vigour as we knew they would. A few turnovers hurt us - it was always going to be like that early on. We wanted to win this game and we're frustrated because we felt we could have won. They took their chances better than we did.
"We played well last weekend, maybe the 37-15 scoreline flattered us a bit, but we really wanted to win this away game because we haven't done that this year."
Bath winger Matt Banahan set up a nervy finish for Argentina when he combined with Delon Armitage to score under the posts, bumping off Francisco Leonelli in the process.
"Matt played very well again. He took his try well and was good under the high ball. But ultimately we win and lose as a team," said Johnson."
Argentina produced a cagey finish to escape with victory but England captain Steve Borthwick believed his side were capable of completing the comeback right until the final whistle.
"Without question we felt we could reel them in at the end," he said. "We believed throughout we could win. You could see that in the boys because they kept going. Credit to the way Argentina managed the game and frustrated us in the last few minutes. There were chances there for us.
"The way we built our score was great but we must take our chances and sustain pressure on the opposition. That's something we didn't do because the error count was too high."
Argentina captain Juan Fernandez Lobbe felt his side had avenged their mauling at Old Trafford in the first Test.
"It was a really tough game. We wanted to change our image after what happened in the last match and we felt we achieved that," he said. "England are a very good team. We let them come at us in the third quarter but we held our nerve and are very happy with the result. I would have killed myself had we lost this game at the end."
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