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Page last updated at 18:59 GMT, Sunday, 15 March 2009

England can offer more - Johnson

Martin Johnson
Johnson's side scored five tries on the way to victory

England manager Martin Johnson has urged his side to continue their improvement after seeing them hand out a 34-10 Six Nations hiding to France.

"We've had some tough days here this season and we got all the breaks in the first half, got some luck and executed very well," Johnson told BBC Sport.

"It was a great example to the team of how we have to play and I think we are getting better each week.

"The plan is always to improve and there is still a lot to work on."

England scored five tries, including four in a scintillating first half, as they blew France away to record their second victory of the campaign, and third in a row against the French in the tournament.

Importantly, it was the first time in this season's competition England did not have anyone sin-binned.

"I'm happy for the players and the coaches," said Johnson.

"We have had some disappointing changing rooms recently and coming into a winning England changing room is what it is all about.

"It was a hard second half to play. We had the game won and we started it well but then went off track.

"We had a couple of warnings from the ref, we conceded tries and penalties but overall we played very well.

"Next weekend (against Scotland at Twickenham) we have to reproduce this form."

The England manager also paid tribute to captain Steve Borthwick, who answered his critics with a fine performance.

Borthwick pleased with improvements

"I'm happy for Steve as he's been getting a lot of grief but he showed what a good leader and a good player he is," he added.

Borthwick praised England's team spirit and the improved discipline, despite 13 penalties conceded, against France.

"This group have stayed really tight, have worked really hard to analyse were we have gone wrong and we have talked at length about discipline," he said.

"You can see throughout the last few games and again today the courage and resilience in the group.

"Our guys are playing for each other and once you've got that it's a good base to go from."

Borthwick played down his own role in the performance and stated: "It's my responsibility to go out and play to the best of my ability and lead by example.

"I've done the job that's been asked off me by the coaches, regardless of what anyone else says. I'm just playing my role for the team."

There were plenty of highlights for England on a memorable afternoon, with full-back Delon Armitage and centre Riki Flutey both outstanding.


But flanker Tom Croft, one of three changes to the side, was named man of the match and the Leicester player believes there is more to come.

"I think we owed ourselves that performance today," said Croft.

"It's been a massive week. We concentrated on keeping the penalty count down and we were just about there today.

"Our turnover play especially [England won 13 turnovers, to France's one] was superb. The boys just flicked that switch with the ball in hand and I think there is loads more to come from this team."

Armitage scored a try for the third Test in a row and made a point of kissing the red rose on his England jersey immediately after scoring.

The full-back played for France's under-16 side when his family lived in the country during his teenage years but was then told he was too small and skinny to play international rugby.

"It means a lot to score against France," said Armitage. "There is a lot of history there with them letting me go.

"They told me I was a bit too small but I have got a bit taller and quicker since then so it's nice to get the try."

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see also
England 34-10 France
15 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
England v France match stats
31 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union
England v France photos
15 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Short-term England need vision
13 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
England change three for France
11 Mar 09 |  English
Skipper Borthwick defies critics
10 Mar 09 |  English

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