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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 September 2007, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
England's balance pleases Ashton
Martin Corry
Martin Corry and Paul Sackey scored a brace each for England
England coach Brian Ashton insists his side can still be a danger if they can emulate the balanced performance that downed a spirited Samoa in Nantes.

Ashton's men made a fast start but were forced to weather a fierce Samoan storm before ending strongly with second tries for Martin Corry and Paul Sackey.

"The start and end was good and our defence held up in that spell of theirs," said Ashton.

"If we put a bit more width in our game we'll trouble sides."

England raced into a 23-6 lead after half an hour but Samoa full-back Loki Crichton chipped away to reduce the gap to 11 points at the break.

A further Crichton penalty and then a converted try for Junior Polo dragged Samoa to within four points at 26-22 and gave England a fright before they pulled ahead in the last quarter.

"We had a spell of 20 minutes in the second half where we struggled, and I think they put 20m on the side of the pitch because we couldn't find touch," added Ashton, who made seven changes to the side that crashed to South Africa.

We got a bit leaky at one point but we stuck to it and I was delighted how we reacted

Martin Corry

"But we've worked a lot this week in getting a bit more balance and width - and when we did that we looked far more dangerous.

"It's getting towards the sort of rugby I enjoy watching, let alone coaching. Don't be too surprised, we might do that again next week.

"We didn't drive as much ball as we would've liked, although it didn't make much difference on the scoreboard, but we're constantly trying to get that balance right.

"The bonus point could be very important - it all comes down to a straight shoot-out next Friday against Tonga."

England captain Corry hailed his side's ability to stick to their plan and remain focused.

"The strength in the tackle was very good - even when the pressure came on we kept to our game," said Corry.

"We got a bit leaky at one point but we stuck to it and I was delighted how we reacted. The main difference was in attack and for once we were getting over two or three phases and it is nice when the hard work pays off."


Wing Sackey, who also scored in each half, admitted England still have plenty to work on but was pleased with the interplay between the pack and the quick men outside.

"In the first 20 minutes of the second half we were a bit all over the place but after that we played our pattern and that worked well," said the Wasps star.

"We got the balance between forwards and backs right and that's a good positive."

England's final group game against Tonga on Friday is a winner-takes-all clash for a place as Pool A runners-up, and a likely quarter-final against Australia in Marseille on 6 October.

Samoan coach Michael Jones, the All Black legend, said: "We want to congratulate England. They've said a statement they're on their way back.

"We gave everything and more for 70 minutes. They (England) hang tough, that's a sign of a good team.

"They put us to the sword in the last 10 minutes."

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