Johnson satisfied with England win
Martin Johnson tackled the reality of top-flight rugby after his England side had made hard work of defeating Samoa at Twickenham.
After the brilliance against Australia the week before England had to come back from 8-6 down to grind out a 26-13 result which owed more to hard work and pragmatism than creativity.
Johnson said: "I got asked: 'Oh haven't you got to win in style?' These people don't understand what you are dealing with. It's bloody competitive, bloody tough. They were strong in the breakdown, a couple of times up the middle of the field I wasn't comfortable in my seat. These guys can play. How many times do they have to do what they can do before people understand that?"
Despite domination in the scrums and enjoying the majority of possession, England struggled to control a match in which they led 6-3 at half-time before going behind immediately after the restart when Samoa full-back Paul Williams went over to record the first try scored by his nation in a senior international at Twickenham.
It was also one of those days when England appeared destined not to score a try, having three rightly disallowed when Ben Foden failed to get the ball down before being swept into touch, when Chris Ashton raced under the posts only to be brought back for a forward pass and when Mark Cueto stepped into touch before releasing the final pass.
"We couldn't buy a try at one point," said Johnson. "I wouldn't have complained if we had been brilliant throughout but life is not always what you want. I was frustrated but we had to keep our composure and find a way to win it.
"Going behind just after half-time wasn't great but in hindsight it didn't kill us. They chanced their arm a bit. It's not great when they come out with the ball on your 22 right under the posts. But (Toby) Flood and (Ben) Youngs handled the game pretty well.
"They were very composed at half-time. We had to build our way back into the game which we did and ultimately got ourselves well ahead."
They did so with second-half tries from centre Matt Banahan, making his first Test start at outside centre, and replacement flanker Tom Croft, while Flood added 16 points with the boot.
Even so there were a few anxious moments in the last 10 minutes when Samoa appeared at last to wrest the initiative at the scrummage and Fautua Otto dived over to reduce the arrears with the penultimate play of the match.