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England break down solid Samoans

Posted Nov 21, 2010 by Jeff Dawson

Following England's success over Australia last weekend, it was suggested that the biggest test would be getting themselves up for the Samoa game at Twickenham yesterday. And so it proved.Although England triumphed 23-16, they had to come from behind to do so and they found themselves battling against a resolute and tough visiting side.Firstly, credit where credit is due, England won the game. England showed a great spirit and fantastic character to turn their fortunes around and claim the victory. And they showed an improved match-winning instinct to do just that.But why did they struggle to break down a team that, with all due respect, they should have beaten reasonably comfortably?Well the main reason for this was that Samoa made the game disjointed. They broke up the play. They tackled, they stopped England running with the ball and they made the game as fragmented as they possible could.And this put paid to the running game that had destroyed the Australians just a week again. In fact, it wasn't until Matt Banahan and Tom Croft crossed for second-half tries that England were in control of the scoreboard.No doubt this performance and style of match will do England some favours in the long run and it is this kind of experience that will give the nation hope ahead of tough fixtures at next year's World Cup and before that the Six Nations.Samoa made sure there were a lot of reset scrums, a lot of penalties and lots of bodies around the breakaway and getting quick ball was hard for the English as Samoa committed a lot of bodies and England weren't up to speed in that area.And after a couple of missed first half opportunities, which helped the team in the second half, taught this young England team to be more accurate and clinical after the interval.Also, with several of the regulars rested and youth given a chance, it was fantastic to see a committed and spirited display from a set of players desperate to do well for their country.Considering everything, this was a cracking result and performance and perhaps, just what England needed for long term success.

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