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Martin Johnson pleased with England after Wales victory

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Johnson happy with patient England

England boss Martin Johnson praised his team for "finishing off" Wales after the visitors threatened to repeat their 2008 Twickenham win with a late rally.

The hosts saw a 20-3 lead become 20-17 before James Haskell's late second try.

"Our defending got a bit narrow at times but ultimately we finished it off," Johnson told BBC Sport.

"Two years ago in similar circumstances we lost this game. I think both teams will get a lot better but 30 points against Wales is a pretty good start."

England led 20-3 early in the second half after converted tries from James Haskell and Danny Care, with Wales down to 14 men after the sin-binning of Alun Wyn Jones.

But tries from Adam Jones and James Hook brought the visitors back to within three points before Haskell's breakaway effort five minutes from time clinched victory.

"I thought we played well," Johnson said. "At times we didn't and we let them back into it but I'm happy with the way the guys responded.

We work hard and sometimes it doesn't come to fruition but today it did

Captain Steve Borthwick

"There is a lot of pressure and hype for these games and we probably tried to play a bit too much at times.

"We lost our way a bit in the middle of the second half and gave them a chance to come back into it."

Haskell was understandably delighted after claiming his first Test tries on the occasion of his 23rd cap.

"We've wanted a win for a long time. There was great spirit shown by the guys and we are very pleased with it," Haskell told BBC Sport.

"When we run down the tunnel before a game a few of us often say 'this (the crowd noise) is the reason we play'. Today is what playing rugby is all about."

"When you play Wales they are always a tough physical side who make things very difficult for you.

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"We didn't do it for the full 80 minutes but we are very excited about what we are doing and this is a step in the right direction for us. It's about possession and taking control."

Care was quick to highlight the significance of Jones's yellow card as England avenged defeats to the Welsh in their previous three Six Nations encounters.

"Obviously these sort of games come down to little errors," Care told BBC Sport.

"He stuck out a leg and he had to go for 10 minutes which gave us a big lift and it was great to get that try before half-time."

Centre Mathew Tait, whose deft pass out of the back of his hand sent Haskell in for his second try, added: "When a team goes down to 14 men you've got to capitalise on that and I think Steve Borthwick and Jonny Wilkinson guided us well through that period."

England will now turn their attentions to facing Italy, who lost 29-11 in Ireland, in Rome next Sunday.

"You see how much hard work everyone puts in but sometimes it doesn't come to fruition on the field," said captain Borthwick.

"I'm very proud of the guys. We work hard and sometimes it doesn't come to fruition but today it did. We've been a very tight unit and we are all learning from Martin Johnson. We must do better and that is what our focus will be going into next week."



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see also
Gatland blast at Wales lock Jones
06 Feb 10 |  Welsh
England 30-17 Wales
06 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union
England v Wales match stats
31 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations as it happened
06 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union
England v Wales photos
06 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union


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