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England reaction to Hillary Shield defeat by New Zealand

29 November 2008

Reaction from England manager Martin Johnson and players to the 32-6 defeat by New Zealand in the Hillary Shield at Twickenham:

Martin Johnson:

"It has been a similar situation for the past three weeks. At half-time we were in the game and we had a fantastic opportunity after half-time which would have given us momentum for the second half.

"But we didn't take that chance to score and when Toby Flood went to the bin we lost a bit of composure.

"There were a lot of good things that we did and for a long time we made a very good side look normal.

"I was proud of their effort after a very difficult week. We had to stand up as a group and I think we did that pretty well."

Delon Armitage (London Irish)

[On England having four players sin-binned] "It's tough enough at times to play 15-on-15 so when you go down to 14 or 13 it's even tougher. Our discipline was obviously very disappointing, but at least we competed with them for 60 minutes."

[On the atmosphere at Twickenham] "We felt bad for the crowd over the last three games. It's been very disappointing for them and for us also. We wanted to give them something today. Hopefully we can learn a lot from these defeats and take it into the Six Nations."

Steve Borthwick (captain, Saracens)

[On his pride in playing for England] "It's easy to be critical and to write people off� but we're a bunch of guys who are desperate to play for England and desperate to win. Saying that, we have to be very clear about where we can improve and how we can all become better players."

[On losing three out of four Investec Challenge matches] "I'm tremendously disappointed to have lost so many matches. But building a side with the right quality and experience takes time. I've seen a huge amount over the last few weeks to be positive about."


Danny Care (Harlequins)

[On the All Blacks] "All credit to New Zealand, if you give them a sniff, they take it and put points on the board - that's exactly what they did 60 minutes in. They're a world class team and you saw why today, though lot of their chances came from our errors, which is something we need to look at."

[On the atmosphere at Twickenham] "The crowd were absolutely fantastic. We really heard them - they want us to do well and that's exactly what we want to do. We're really grateful to the fans, particularly as the scoreboard doesn't fairly reflect how we played."


Danny Cipriani (London Wasps)
[On his performances over the Investec Challenge series] "I'm desperate to play more games in the England jersey and get back to the form I was in last year. Hopefully I can put the frustration behind me and perform on a more consistent basis."


Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)

[On the sin-binnings] "When you play 80 minutes of rugby and 40 of them with 14 men you don't have much of a chance. Things didn't go to plan and it wasn't the result we wanted but we fronted up as a team. All in all we are disappointed with this series."

[On the future] "This team has huge potential but that's just a word - we need to do lots of hard work when we get back to our clubs and then when we meet up ahead of the Six Nations."

Nick Easter (Harlequins)
[On nearly scoring a try at the start of the second half] "It would have been a massive turning point, as we were only 12-6 down at the time. We needed to go on and create more of those chances, but we didn't. We need to improve our mental focus in certain situations."

[On the strength of the Southern Hemisphere] "The scoreboard doesn't lie - it's a fair reflection of how far ahead the Southern Hemisphere teams are at the moment - they seem to have stretched away a fair bit since the Rugby World Cup."

Riki Flutey (London Wasps)
[On the last 20 minutes of the match] "There was a crucial 10-minute period where they fed off our mistakes - until then we were very much in it. You just can't give the All Blacks opportunities like that."

[On the Investec Challenge series] "We'll learn from these games though and will come out of it all stronger. It would have been nice to get one over the boys, but it just wasn't to be on this occasion."

Nick Kennedy (London Irish)

[On the Investec Challenge series] "You want to play against the best teams in the world and that was New Zealand today. We made some errors and they capitalised on them very well and put the game out of reach."

[On playing for England] "Hopefully I have given a good account of myself and I have certainly enjoyed the experience of being with England. However, all the excitement and the build-up of today was cancelled by the result. I really want to keep the jersey for the start of the Six Nations so I'm going to continue to work hard with London Irish."

Ugo Monye (Harlequins)

[On the score-line] "You can't fault the effort and commitment of our guys, perhaps sometimes just the quality. I guess our concentration just slipped at times, as did our ability to convert possession and territory into actual points."

[On the performance of the All Blacks] "They're obviously a class side - their support for each other out on the pitch is fantastic. They've got incredible ball players from one to 15 - it probably helps that they're coming towards the end of their season, when they've all been together for a long time - I think that really showed out there today."


Phil Vickery (London Wasps)

[On England's performance] "There was a lot of heart, endeavour and effort out there, but unfortunately at this level, that's just not enough. We need to go away from this series very disappointed, as I know we all are, but at the same time we have to build from this and learn from it very quickly. All the guys will be asking ourselves individually and collectively what we need to do to get back on track."

[On the atmosphere at Twickenham] "We must give credit to our supporters - I have to say they helped create one of the best atmospheres I've ever been involved with at Twickenham. We gave them a fair amount to cheer at times, but ultimately we failed again and we can't hide from that. There's no point in dressing things up, we were well beaten and we have to improve."