Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Johnson demands high intensity

Martin Johnson

Martin Johnson has demanded England take a cup final mentality into Saturday's showdown with struggling world champions South Africa.

Johnson has reverted to his strongest line-up and named the same starting XV that laid the foundations for England's record 35-18 victory over Australia two Saturdays ago.

"Every Test is a cup final. There are not little Test matches," said Johnson.

"Against Australia we took the lead and then kept our foot on the pedal. Last week our guys' intensity was a few per cent off and they have to be able to raise that, whoever they are playing.

"It is balls-out from the start to the end. If you are smart, accurate and disciplined then you have a chance to win. That is what we need to get to.

"It is going to be a big, big game. It is a cracking game to be involved in whenever you play South Africa. You know what you are going to get in terms of intensity.

"We know we will have to play at a very high level. It will be very physical, intense and a great Test match. Everyone is looking forward to a full-blooded Test match at Twickenham."

England have not beaten South Africa since 2006 and two years ago, in Johnson's first encounter with the Springboks as a coach, they were thrashed 42-6 in a record home defeat.

"It wasn't a fun day but that is sometimes what you go through," said Johnson.