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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 February 2006, 13:08 GMT
England no style gurus - Johnson
Former England rugby captain Martin Johnson
Johnson led England 45 times in his 84 Tests
Former England captain Martin Johnson insists the current side should ignore critics of their style and concentrate on playing "winning rugby".

"I'm concerned about people putting the emphasis on style," he said. "You win the game by the best means available.

"If England need to use their forwards to create space for their backs, that's what they should do.

"Playing wide is not necessarily right because people think it's attractive. It's all about winning games."

Johnson said he was "amazed" at some of the criticism England received after their 31-16 victory in Italy in the last round of Six Nations matches.

You have to win tight Test matches to be successful in the biggest competitions
Martin Johnson
"I think people get carried away with the idea that if it looks great, it is great," he told the RFU's website.

"If they'd won by 60 points and Italy hadn't been as competitive, would that have made the England performance any better? No.

"Italy are a good physical team who defended very well for the majority of the game and did not give England chances to kick penalties and get away from them.

"It was a good, tough game to watch and England probably got more out of that as a team than by winning by 60 points or more.

"If England had spun the ball out to the wings and played some fantastic rugby and scored tries easily, as maybe we have in the past, people might say you're great.

"But that doesn't win you tight Test matches, which you have to do to be successful in the biggest competitions."

Johnson believes England have a chance of getting beaten in any of their next three Six Nations matches against Scotland on Saturday, France on 12 March and Ireland on 18 March.

"But that's what the England team needs - top games against teams that can beat them," he added.




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