Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Johnno: We improve or go home

Martin Johnson

Martin Johnson warned "sloppy" England 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.

"I am a bit annoyed," said Johnson. "We were sloppy at times. It is a simple game and at times we made it more difficult and it was sloppy."

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 number eight 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.

Johnson said: "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 v 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."

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