- Johnson on the injuries suffered by Wilkinson and Tindall
- He played with courage and tenacity as ever – Johnson on Wilkinson
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Martin Johnson is concerned over the fitness of experienced duo Jonny Wilkinson and Mike Tindall after the bruising Pool B victory over Scotland at Eden Park in Auckland.
The 2003 Rugby World Cup winners were both replaced in the final 10 minutes of the 16-12 win, before wing Chris Ashton pounced for his sixth try of the tournament with just two minutes left to play.
And while Johnson admits it is difficult to speak conclusively in such close proximity to the final whistle, the Team Manager said the pair’s fitness is a worry ahead of the quarter final against France on Saturday, October 8.
He said: "We’re only 12 hours post game but Jonny got scanned last on his upper forearm/elbow region but that didn’t show anything.
"So while that’s good news at this point in the tournament it’s a bit of a worry. I think we’ll need another day or so to see where he is and if he’ll be available for the weekend.
"Mike Tindall has a dead leg and again we’ll need another 24 hours to see where he is in terms of going forward and being able to train this week and be available.
"We do have concerns with injuries but generally we’re in a pretty good place and we’ll just hope for the best in the next 24 hours."
Photo: Getty Images
By his high standards, Wilkinson had a poor display with the boot against Scotland, at one point missing three penalties in five first-half minutes as England tried to get a foothold in the game.
But Johnson was fulsome in his praise of England’s record points scorer, highlighting the 32-year-old’s crucial role in dragging his side back into the game from 12-3 down and putting them in range for Ashton to collect replacement Toby Flood’s excellent cut-out pass and win the game.
Referencing the courage Wilkinson displays every time he takes the field, Johnson added: “He missed some kicks at goal clearly but when we went to 12-3 we were potentially going home.
“But then he puts over a drop goal that gets us to 12-6 and he scores the next penalty. He kept his nerve and played with the courage and tenacity that he always plays with so I thought he showed the character that we needed along with everyone else.
“At times the team didn’t play well and any individual probably had an error in that game at some point, and good points as well. It was one of those game where we fought and fought and eventually got there to win.”