Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Johnson calls for calm

Martin Johnson has warned his England players ahead of the clash with Samoa that their heroics against Australia last week could easily be forgotten in today's "instant society".

England will be carried into the game on a wave of a public euphoria following their record 35-18 victory over the Wallabies, which lifted them to fourth in the world rankings.

"We are completely aware of what it can do to a team if you get ahead of yourselves," said Johnson. "The world is so volatile. Some of the stuff I've had to deal with this week...we've won a game and played well but it's one game. Calm down. We have to back it up through this series and through the Six Nations."

The identity of Johnson's England - both in terms of personnel and style of play - is finally beginning to take shape and the future looks much brighter.

But Johnson has spent all week trying to play down the notion that England have finally achieved their breakthrough victory.

The 2003 World Cup-winning captain has made sure his players have been left under no illusions that the Australia game must be considered a positive step along the road but not the final destination.

Anything else, Johnson warned, and they risk coming unstuck on Saturday at Twickenham against a Samoan team ranked 11th in the world but growing in confidence after their performance in a 20-10 defeat to Ireland last week.

He said: "The perception of where you are is so high and so low, so quickly. It is an external thing and it's not just in our sport or sport as a whole, it's the world in general.

"We all live in an instant society where today's heroes are forgotten tomorrow and vice-versa.

"Just some of the people who have contacted me this week, about where we are as a team, I just said, "We're not there yet". What we are trying to do is go on a steady, smooth upward plane, but that's not life."


From Belfast Telegraph