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Page last updated at 21:15 GMT, Saturday, 13 March 2010

Martin Johnson rues England's lack of cutting edge


Johnson demands 'slicker' England

England manager Martin Johnson lamented his side's lack of creativity after they ground out a try-less 15-15 Six Nations draw with Scotland.

"The effort was good, we just need to be that little bit slicker," said Johnson whose team have managed just five tries in this year's tournament.

"Ultimately I thought we had enough opportunities and pressure to put them away," added Johnson.

"They'll probably think the same. It's a draw and no one's happy."

As has been the case throughout the championship, England were reliant on their kickers, with Jonny Wilkinson - who went off injured - and his replacement, Toby Flood, kicking the points in reply to Dan Parks' efforts from the boot for Scotland.

The result at least means England retain the Calcutta Cup, however this was scant consolation for Johnson.

"The guys are disappointed. We've got chances to win the game," added Johnson.


"We didn't need to give away silly penalties in the second half because they didn't look like scoring particularly."

Excepting scrum-half Danny Care, Matthew Tait remains the only England back to touch down in this year's competition, and Johnson was clearly frustrated by his team's apparent reluctance to run the ball.

"I said to the guys at half-time, just back ourselves to retain ball and win the game.

"We looked good when we had the ball in hand, the problem is it happened so rarely."

And the World Cup winner felt his side's potency in attacking positions was severely hampered by the pattern of a scrappy game at Murrayfield, as well as Ugo Monye's withdrawal through injury.

"The second half was a grind of a game, and we had the disappointment of losing a winger - I think a couple of chances we had on the left wing we could have done with Ugo," said Johnson.

"You want to get the tempo up and get fatigue in the opposition but it was taking two minutes to reset scrums at times and it is not great for anyone.

"It makes the game very fractured. We had enough pressure to put them away but we didn't."

Johnson's disappointment was echoed by his captain, Steve Borthwick.

"It's frustrating for both sides and a kind of empty result," said the lock. "I'm very proud of the effort of the guys and we had chances to win but didn't take them.

"Scotland are a very good side, results haven't gone for them but we knew coming up here was a big ask against a quality group of players."

England's final game of the tournament comes against France in Paris, where Les Bleus are likely to be going for a Grand Slam.

"It is a good game for us to finish with. It is an exciting one," said Johnson.

"It will be a huge game for them and Saturday night in Paris can be difficult as Ireland have found out."

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see also
England drop Wilkinson for Flood
17 Mar 10 |  Rugby Union
Robinson positive on Scots draw
13 Mar 10 |  Scottish
Scotland v England match stats
31 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 15-15 England
13 Mar 10 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations photos
13 Mar 10 |  Rugby Union

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