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England learn how to grind out win


Martin Johnson

Martin Johnson

Martin Johnson

England coach Martin Johnson believes some good lessons were learnt in the hard-fought 26-13 victory over Samoa at Twickenham, even if the match will not be remembered like the record win over Australia a week earlier.

"I said before that if it takes us 75 minutes to break them down then that's what it takes," commented Johnson, whose side trailed 8-6 early in the second-half. "There were more tries disallowed than in any game I've ever been involved in. To concede just after half-time was poor, but composure is the best word for it.

"You keep on playing and go for the breakthrough, which we eventually got."

Matt Banahan's two tries put England in the driving seat and a third from Tom Croft sealed a victory that had to be ground out against a determined Samoa side.

"It was a very different game to last week," said Johnson. "There were a lot of reset scrums, a lot of penalties and lot of bodies around the breakaway.

"I said at half-time that we had to be far better at the breakdown and I think we adjusted to it pretty well.

"You get a bit frustrated when decisions go against you a little bit and a few of the guys are a bit disappointed, but that's Test rugby and we ground our way to a win.

"It's a good experience for them. Getting quick ball was harder because they committed a lot of bodies and we were not up to speed in that area.

"It was harder to get the ball away, but you've got to deal with it. We could have scored a couple of tries in the first-half, but in a way it was a good thing we didn't. I thought we were far more accurate in the second-half.

"They are very big and strong guys. There was no surprise in that and we varied our game pretty well."