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Manager Martin Johnson hails 'special' England victory

Shontayne Hape, Ben Youngs, Tom Croft, Nick Easter (right)
England players celebrate their victory over Australia on Saturday

England manager Martin Johnson hailed his side's 21-20 win over Australia - their first over a Tri-Nations team for three years - as "pretty special".

"I think we played pretty well," said Johnson after England's first win down under since their 2003 World Cup win.

"We still made mistakes and had to weather a few storms but that is Test rugby. We kept fighting back.

"It is really good for the players and coaches. It doesn't happen that often so to win one here is pretty special."

Jonny Wilkinson, whose memorable drop-goal sealed England's last win in Australia (their only other prior to Saturday also came in 2003), landed the winning penalty with nearly half-an-hour left after replacing the injured Toby Flood at fly-half.

Australia centre Matt Giteau missed two further penalty opportunities - one in front of the posts - to win the game as England held on to claim only their second away win, and ninth overall, in 24 Tests since Johnson took charge.

It was a huge effort for the players to front up in the last game of the season

Martin Johnson

"I have said all week I don't worry about my record or my job, I worry about this team getting better," added the World Cup-winning captain. "Today we showed we can play. We knew we could, we just had to go and do it.

"We have still got to be better and more consistent but we have won the Test match.

"A lot of things we didn't do well last week we improved on. Defensively we were sharper and we took our tries early on.

"We finished our opportunities with Ben [Youngs] and Chris [Ashton]. We kept ourselves in the game when we were behind.

"We said at half-time the game would come down to work-rate and we stayed in there. It was a huge effort for the players to front up in the last game of the season.

"There has been a lot of negativity around them at times in terms of their ability. They have been mentally tough to come through that and play well."


England finish their tour with a match against the New Zealand Maori in Napier on Wednesday.

But Johnson hopes Saturday's result acts as a springboard ahead of next year's World Cup.

"We had a chat to the players in the week about what happens at the end of the tour," he added.

"The less experienced players need to understand they need to get better and the players need to understand where to improve.

"The team improved from last week and plenty of young players will be better for the experience of the tour and the victory and the defeats, and coming here to play very good teams.

"[Scrum-half] Ben Youngs is a good example. He played very well today. He is very level-headed. Hopefully he will be thinking 'if I work harder I can be better and we can have days like this again'."

The exuberant 20-year-old raised the tempo of England's game with his swift service from the base of the scrum on his first Test start.

"It is a great honour to play for England and when the boys play like that in a great stadium like this, it is magnificent," Youngs said.

Our intensity was not where it should have been. We didn't expect them to be so hard on the ball

Australia captain Rocky Elsom

"Last week [the 27-17 first Test defeat] we got it completely wrong and this week we got it completely right. We played some great rugby and thoroughly deserved to win."

England captain Lewis Moody felt a change of attitude since the first Test had brought its rewards.

"We let ourselves down in the first 40 minutes last week and from one to 22 we were fantastic tonight," he said. "This whole squad has come together this week.

"We've got some great talent and some guys that can really run and they showed what they can do."

Australia captain Rocky Elsom felt his side did not produce the intensity to match a much-improved England.

"They were a desperate side and they needed a win and we knew that," he said. "Our intensity was not where it should have been. We didn't expect them to be so hard on the ball."

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans added: "Our intensity tapered from last week, most evidently in the defensive line. We didn't force England to work hard enough for the points they scored in the first half."

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see also
Australia 20-21 England
19 Jun 10 |  English
International rugby union as it happened
19 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
England face crunch Test
18 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
Youngs & Lawes start for England
17 Jun 10 |  English
Aussie Barbarians 9-15 England
15 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
Angry Johnson criticises players
12 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
Australia 27-17 England
12 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
Aussie Barbarians 28-28 England
08 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union

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