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Johnson relieved after scrappy win

Martin Johnson felt like he aged 20 years as he watched England battle from behind to open their Rugby World Cup campaign with a 13-9 victory over Argentina.

But if he was a little greyer around the temples and if his brow was furrowed deeper than usual, Johnson was at least able to celebrate what he called "a fantastic win in the circumstances". It was substitute Ben Youngs who provided England's 'get out of jail free' card, scoring the only try of the match after 68 minutes.

"We said before the tournament that World Cup games are about finding a way to win in difficult circumstances against difficult teams," said Johnson. "Clearly it could be a lot better but we found a way to win the game. All the players are frustrated but in the circumstances that is a good win, a fantastic win."

England knew just how dangerous Argentina would be. The Pumas stunned France in the opening game of the last World Cup and went on to finish third in the tournament.

"In 2007, France would have bitten your arm off to win that game," added Johnson. "They are a team that will keep possession and squeeze penalties. It makes it difficult but we got over the line.

"These games are black and white and we found a way to win. We could easily have lost that game and we didn't."

Although Argentina earned a losing bonus point, fly-half Felipe Contepomi admitted the defeat could prove costly to their hopes of reaching a second successive World Cup semi-final.

"In terms of the result, it can cost us dearly because it is always easier if you win your first game in the World Cup," said Contepomi.

"In terms of performance the whole team made a big step forward. I think we can build on this performance. The World Cup is a long tournament and now we have three tough games ahead of us.

"Hopefully we can improve our game. Having played only one Test in 11 months we knew it would be hard but we have to go on from here."


From Belfast Telegraph