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Unapologetic Johnson sticking to tactics

Martin Johnson insisted England will do whatever it takes to beat Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday - and he makes no apology for it.

England were panned by the critics following a performance against Italy so one-dimensional that even number eight Nick Easter admitted it was "boring". But Johnson has reminded fans that England head into the pivotal clash against last year's champions unbeaten and warned his players not to play up to the Twickenham crowd.

"We don't need to get caught into thinking we need to prove people wrong or play a style of rugby because that's what people think we should do," said Johnson.

"When you win, generally you don't make apologies for how you do it, although we seem to have had to occasionally.

"If we have to kick for 80 minutes we will do that, if we have to run for 80 minutes we will do that.

"We need to make good decisions based on what's in front of us on the day. We will need to be good in all areas to beat Ireland."

Johnson gave a vote of confidence to under-fire fly-half Jonny Wilkinson and the rest of the side that won 17-12 in Rome by naming an unchanged team.

"I find the amount of criticism that has gone Jonny's way a bit surprising and disappointing. I think it has gone over the top," said Johnson.

"Our failure to put some of those chances away (against Italy), was that because of Jonny Wilkinson? No, he is part of the team like everyone else is.

"I have a wry smile when I read some of those articles. I don't think I have to sit here and defend Jonny for what he has done in rugby."


From Belfast Telegraph