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Johnson wants fortress Twickenham

Martin Johnson has warned England it is time to start turning Twickenham into a feared venue once again.

England have lost six of their 13 home Tests since Johnson took charge in the summer of 2008, with their only autumn victories coming against the Pacific Islands and Argentina.

When Johnson was a player and captain, Twickenham was England's fortress. Sir Clive Woodward's side did not lose at home in 22 Tests over four years in the build-up to their 2003 Rugby World Cup triumph.

That aura of invincibility has been lost. Australia will arrive at HQ today having won on their last two visits and England's recent home record is four defeats in six Tests.

Last weekend, England had the 81,000-strong Twickenham crowd on its feet with a rousing second-half comeback against New Zealand but they had left it too late and the All Blacks won 26-16.

Johnson urged his men to turn the old cabbage patch into a cauldron right from the kick-off today and catch the Wallabies cold.

“We want teams to come here and not look forward to playing,” said Johnson.

“You only do that by performance. It doesn't happen any other way. You have to go and play with intensity and accuracy and make it bloody difficult for them.

“We are expecting a very hard Test match and a tough challenge. We were disappointed with things we did last week but it is good to have that as a reference point.

“We didn't start well enough last week, defensively we compounded errors and suddenly they are scoring. You can fix those things up.

“The guys were realistic last week that they hadn't played well enough for long enough in the game. They had played well in parts but that won't win you a game against teams of this quality.

“ We have got to be sharper.”

Belfast Telegraph


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