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England will go back to work ahead of France test

12 February 2011

  • Manager warns England they must be more clinical against France
  • Italy coach Nick Mallett left “very unhappy”
Captain Mike Tindall (R) speaks with Martin Johnson

Photo: Getty Images

England still have plenty to work on ahead of their clash with France in two weeks' time, according to head coach Martin Johnson. Chris Ashton scored four tries as England defeated Italy 59-13, but Johnson warned: "We can look at what we have done well and what we need to be better at.

"We won't get the same amount of opportunities to score - that won't happen - so when the chances are there you need to take them. We should make it difficult for Italy when they come to Twickenham and I'm very pleased.

"For about 20 minutes we did a lot of good things, had try-scoring chances and didn't take them. But we kept on executing and got away from them, which is what you want to do. We're not used to having big leads and hopefully it's a problem we can get used to.

"We got the tempo into the game and got some fatigue in them pretty quickly, but did I think we would get that many? Probably not."
Johnson insisted that he had spoken to Ashton in the week, but had not banned him from swallow-diving over the line as he did in the opening win in Wales.

Ashton did it twice more and Johnson just smiled when the subject was brought up.

"I said I would see him on Tuesday. I knew he would do that one at the end - we had no subs left, but I nearly put his number up anyway. I told him it would have been an interesting way to end his career! You are allowed to have fun and he is a finisher. He gets in the right places and scores tries - that's what he does."

Italian reaction

Italy coach Nick Mallett admitted: "It's a very unhappy dressing room and I'm a very unhappy coach. We didn't expect to play as poorly. England played well, but I think we were to blame for why they had so much of the ball.

"I never thought we would play a game like today after the job we have done for the last two weeks. There were very few scrums, we gave away first-phase ball and once the game broke up there was a lot of speed in the England side. We played very good rugby for two-and-a-half minutes."

On Ashton, he stated: "I don't think he's going to become a good player - he's already an outstanding player. He has a very good nose for a try and I think he is going to trouble a lot of teams."

Azzurri captain Sergio Parisse added: "The only positive is we are going to play Wales in two weeks. There is nothing to say from a game point of view. We were very poor, even from a mental perspective. It's very bad to lose by 50 points. We could talk, but the Six Nations go on."