England in need of finishing school

Manager Martin Johnson says side failed to take opportunities in narrow win over Italy.

    Wilkinson secured England's win [AFP]
    England manager Martin Johnson highlighted his side's inability to finish their moves as his main criticism following an unconvincing 17-12 win over Italy in the Six Nations championship.

    Mathew Tait scored the game's only try in the 46th minute and Jonny Wilkinson kicked England's other points, although the fly half also missed three attempts at goal in a rare off day.

    "The frustrating thing is that there were tries to score but we came away with just one," Johnson said on Sunday after his first away win since taking over the English national team.

    "We did play good rugby at times but there wasn't a try at the end. When you play in Italy over here it's never easy. The guys are happy to have won. They know they could have done better."

    Unhappy

    Johnson was also unhappy at the indiscipline that allowed Italy penalties, which wing Mirco Bergamasco converted to bring them within two points of England, before Wilkinson sealed victory with a drop goal.

    Six Nations results

    Saturday February 13

     Wales 31-24 Scotland 
     France 33-10 Ireland


    Sunday February 14

     Italy 12-17 England

    His pack's performance in the lineout was also a disappointment, after they dominated Wales in their 30-17 first round victory.

    "For whatever reason, I think in the second half we lost five lineouts," he said.

    "Our wide game was good, our counter-attack was good. We just didn't have the ball for long enough."

    England's kicking from hand frequently looked aimless.

    Johnson said the main problem was the failure to chase and put the receiver under pressure, rather than the kicking itself.

    But he added: "There were times when we could have kept it in hand more. When we did, we looked good."

    Italy coach Nick Mallett was pleased at the improvement shown after last week's 29-11 defeat in Ireland.

    "They improved a lot in areas of the game we didn't do well in against Ireland, in particular our attacking play, the speed we moved the ball, and the lineout," he said.

    "It's a good thing the team are disappointed because before they would have been happy about coming so close against England."

    SOURCE: Reuters


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