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Page last updated at 20:41 GMT, Saturday, 19 March 2011

Six Nations: Grand Slam loss a scar says Martin Johnson

Brian O'Driscoll

Highlights - Ireland 24-8 England

Manager Martin Johnson said England were "desperately disappointed" after their Grand Slam dreams were ended by a 24-8 defeat by Ireland in Dublin.

"Let's take it on the chin, they outplayed us. We had a horrible first half," he told BBC Sport.

Wales' defeat in France meant England won the Six Nations title but it was little consolation for Johnson.

"We came to win and we've fallen way short. This is a scar and we'll have to wear that scar," he added.

England fielded a side containing 10 players aged 25 or under and Johnson said his team's inexperience played a part in their poor display.

England got it very wrong - Johnson

"We compounded errors, we knocked balls on - pressure's the name of the game," he said.

"We had a lot of guys doing this for the first time - not a Grand Slam decider but playing a full championship - and there were a few errors.

"We've got what we've got - a team of good young players. Everyone's got a win and a loss in them, you get that if you don't play well and we got it today.

"It was horrible today, our best two attacking moves in the second half ended with us giving the ball straight to them.

"If everyone makes one mistake, that's 15 mistakes and it was that kind of day. It's just disappointing, we could have been better."


Stand-in captain Nick Easter admitted: "Ireland were the better team. We were second best from the get go.

"We won the kick-off and I think that's about the only time we were on top. We were playing catch-up in the second half but it was the first 20 minutes that really killed us.

"We had a lack of urgency and lack of discipline at times and unfortunately we didn't deliver on the day.

"They played very well and we didn't execute well, but it's a young team, we've got to learn from it and learn pretty quick.

"Next time we'll be tested will be in the World Cup, so we'll find out a lot more then."

Easter said that winning the title did not make up for failing to complete what would have been a first Grand Slam for England since 2003, adding that he did want to seem "ungracious" that he was disappointed.

England were second best - Easter

"We missed out on the big one but this gives us some sort of reward for the strides we've made this season," he added.

England flanker James Haskell and fly-half Toby Flood could not hide their disappointment.

Haskell said: "I am bitterly disappointed. You play four games and then lose the last one. Whatever happens about the title it takes the edge off eight weeks of hard work.

"We were our own worst enemies today. If you shoot yourself in the foot every play it makes it 10 times worse."

Flood added: " "You go into every competition to try and win it and we are in a better position than we have been in recent years.

"But it is a huge disappointment we weren't able to finish it off - and we weren't even close to doing it. They hammered us."

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see also
Ireland 24-8 England
19 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
Irish proved a point - O'Driscoll
19 Mar 11 |  Irish
England consoled with tournament win
19 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
England were second best - Easter
19 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
Kidney heaps praise on Irish players
19 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
Sexton happy to justify selection
19 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations final day as it happened
19 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations photos
19 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
Ireland v England stats
19 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union

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