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England to face the very best this autumn
Coach Johnson has great faith in his team
Posted Sep 16, 2010 by Jeff Dawson
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England coach Martin Johnson has said this week that his side’s summer tour has left them in a much better shape for the autumn Tests against the southern hemisphere nations.
He believes that his side will be able to compete when they take on New Zealand on November 6th before going on to play Australia, South Africa and Samoa. I have to say, I don’t share his enthusiasm!
Undoubtedly, England have improved over the past year or so and lots of new faces have come in and got some valuable experience from the tour down under which included a 21-20 win over the Aussies in Sydney – their first victory in Australia since the World Cup final in 2003.
But, and this is a big but, the All Blacks will provide a much sterner test. The All Blacks are physical. They’re tough. They’re talented. They can move it quickly either by running or passing. And in Dan Carter they have the best number 10 in the world. Fact.
Now this may sound unpatriotic. It may sound like true English cynicism. But all it is, is cold hard truth! I hope England do pull something out of the bag and beat all of the teams they ever face. But I’m also aware that they have considerable improvement to make before they can compete with the world’s best.
I reckon that South Africa and possibly Australia may be there for the taking but that, and I say this with a heavy heart, will be as good as it gets for the English this autumn.
On a positive note, however, it will give us a great opportunity to see first hand how much we, as a nation, have to improve if we are to stand a chance in the World Cup next year.
These Tests will be just that. And Johnson, a great captain in his time with the ability to be a great coach, will need to be at his motivational best to get his players firing. It promises to be a great autumn of rugby and I wait with bated breath the kick off on November 6th.