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Page last updated at 18:36 GMT, Saturday, 30 May 2009 19:36 UK

England fail to impress Johnson

England manager Martin Johnson
Johnson admitted there was much room for improvement

England coach Martin Johnson was frustrated after seeing his team prepare for the Tests with Argentina by losing 33-26 to the Barbarians.

"It's very disappointing how we conceded the two tries in the first half. Maybe there was some rustiness there, I don't know," he said.

"We came back at the end, but at times our basic skills weren't good enough.

"We've got to pick a team for next week. You pick the guys and you've got to back them," Johnson added.

Caps were not awarded for the game, which featured an experimental England side, and Johnson said although it had been a tough test for the team, it was not the same as playing a regular international.

"Games like that are different to a Test match. The Barbarians moved the ball a lot," he said.


"We had opportunities to turn them over but we let them get away with it and gave away two weak tries. It's frustrating. The standard of performance you expect is higher than that and they know that as well.

"Next week will be a different type of performance. Argentina know how to win a Test match. We need to figure them out and put a plan together that's going to be effective against them."

One person who enjoyed his day a bit more was former England captain Martin Corry, who led the Barbarians in what will be his final match at Twickenham.

Despite his team suffering a late scare thanks to England's revival, he said he could hardly have signed off in better fashion.

"Everything about it has been great - apart from the last 20 minutes," he joked.

"Looking back, everything about the day will put a smile on my face. The kids will remember this one forever as well as me. Having the family and my kids here today, it's been very special.

"It's very rare that you can choose the way you go and the manner you do it."

"It was enjoyable but I don't think there are too many of those (performances) left in the bank."

The Corinthian spirit was there. The aim was to have a good time and deliver on the field as well - and we did that

Josh Lewsey

And the 35-year-old had words of encouragement for England fans ahead of the Argentina Tests, which take place on the 6 and 13 June.

"Johnno is developing a really good core of 30 or 40 players who can step in and it is looking very good for the future," he said.

"I think it will a cracking series. If they kick on from where they left offagainst us it will be very interesting.

"England sat off us a little bit at the start but they worked us out and by the end we were hanging on by our fingernails.

"There was a reason we went down to 14 men - they put us under immense pressure and we conceded penalties. They were relentless at the breakdown.

"Argentina are playing well but with the players England have got I am backing them all the way. I'll go for 2-0."

Ex-England and Wasps wing Josh Lewsey was also making his final appearance at Twickenham and he said: "I had gone through the emotion of leaving Wasps. This game was about enjoyment and I thought some of the rugby was absolutely mercurial.

"The whole week had been about sharing some of rugby's greatest qualities which are enjoyment and companionship.

"The Corinthian spirit was there. The aim was to have a good time and deliver on the field as well - and we did that.

"A lot of the rugby in the Premiership is quite structured and controlled but the Barbarians is about putting a lot of good players on the field and letting them play."

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see also
England 26-33 Barbarians
30 May 09 |  English
Injuries won't change me - Moody
29 May 09 |  Leicester
Robshaw receives England call-up
27 May 09 |  English
England 17-14 Barbarians
01 Jun 08 |  English
Veteran Corry retires from rugby
09 May 09 |  Leicester
Salta to host Pumas v England
18 Feb 09 |  English
England to play at Old Trafford
03 Feb 09 |  English
Corry retires from England duty
08 Jan 08 |  English
England 46-19 Barbarians
28 May 06 |  Internationals
England 12-32 Barbarians
30 May 04 |  Internationals
Barbarians ruin England's day
25 May 03 |  Internationals
England young guns romp to victory
26 May 02 |  International
History of the Barbarians
05 Dec 07 |  Welsh

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