England execution pleases Johnson

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LONDON, March 16 – Martin Johnson said England's stunning 34-10 Six Nations victory over France showed just what his team could do if they finished off their chances properly.

ARMITAGEEngland ran in five tries, with centre Riki Flutey scoring twice and wing Mark Cueto, full-back Delon Armitage – who played for France’s Under-16s – and flanker Joe Worsley all crossing as well.

Johnson’s men were 29-0 up at half-time and 34-0 in front early in the second-half before tries from hooker Dimitri Szarzewski and Julien Malzieu prevented France from suffering the embarrassment of a whitewash.

"When we execute what we want to do we can score tries," said Johnson. "That was great.

"The second-half was always going to be difficult coming in at 29-0 but when we stuck to what we were doing we looked good. We were confident in what we were doing," England’s 2003 World Cup-winning captain added.

"There’s lots more to come. In the heat of game there’s always going to be mistakes and miscues. There was a lot of good stuff but lots to improve on.

"There’s a good feeling of satisfaction, it’s nice to be in a dressing room that’s won and played well," said Johnson, who praised the contributions of attack coach Brian Smith and under-pressure captain Steve Borthwick.

"This time we made the passes and scored the tries. I’m happy for Brian. This gives confidence to the players that it works and they can make it happen.

"I am happy for the whole group, players and coaches and Steve Borthwick."
Saracens second-row Borthwick had come in for criticism both as a lock and a leader in England’s previous matches this tournament.

But he has never lost the backing of legendary lock Johnson.

"I’ve said what I’ve said about Steve. He doesn’t have to answer anyone. I’m happy for Steve, there’s no more conscientious player than him."

However, Johnson stressed it was imperative that England followed up this win in their tournament finale against Scotland next weekend.

The Scots gave Grand Slam-chasers Ireland a scare before losing at Murrayfield on Saturday and Johnson said: "Scotland had a real go against Ireland and they’ll want to finish off their season by beating England at Twickenham."

For France coach Marc Lievremont this was a second away defeat of the Championship after Les Bleus lost to Ireland and a result made all the more disappointing after his team’s dramatic 21-16 win over defending champions Wales in Paris last time out.

"We wanted to back-up our good game against Wales but there was no game today. I’m disappointed."

France were on the backfoot after 67 seconds when Cueto scored England’s first try and never recovered. "The start of the game was terrible, we never got into it," said Lievremont.

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