Johnson eyes Italian job
February 8, 2010
Martin Johnson has fired up his troops for their away fixture in Rome © Getty Images
England manager Martin Johnson has warned his men that their 30-17 victory over Wales will be wasted unless they perform against Italy in Rome on Sunday.
England secured a first Six Nations win over Wales since 2006 with three tries, two from James Haskell and one from Danny Care, but were made to sweat as Wales hit back from 20-3 down to trail 20-17 before Haskell rounded off a late interception. The visitors were left to rue a first-half yellow card for lock Alun-Wyn Jones, with England scoring 17 points during his time in the bin.
"It is great they have got the result we have worked so hard for - but if we want to make it into a great win we have to perform next week in Rome," he said. "I said in the changing room: 'You have to enjoy this, enjoy playing Test rugby. That is what it is there for'. But we will be back in Monday and we start work again."
Johnson was pleased with the manner in which his side closed the game out, admitting that Wales' fightback could eventually prove to be a major positive.
"We have been in games when it hasn't gone our way and the talk of small margins sounds very hollow when you lose," he said. "When you have been 17 points up and it is down to three, teams get tense. You can feel the crowd get tense. It was a nervous situation, we had to find the next score and I thought we took it really well.
"You wouldn't say it at the time but it was probably a good thing we went through that because we had to have the wherewithal and the belief to finish the game off. Composure is not something you can give players in a box. Going through the experience of being points up early - you could say too early - is something you have to deal with. Ultimately we got it done. It was closer than we would have liked but it is part of the process for these guys of understanding how to play."
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Women's World Cup, the opening round of the Top 14 and the Rugby Championship