Rugby Union: Johnson is resigned to Dooley's return

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The Independent Online
MARTIN JOHNSON is resigned to watching the second leg of England's run at a record hat-trick of Grand Slams on television, despite making a success of his unexpected chance to win a first cap against France at Twickenham.

The 22-year-old Leicester lock, plucked from the A team at 24 hours notice to replace the injured Wade Dooley, accepts that a fit Dooley would seem certain of regaining his place against Wales at Cardiff in three weeks' time.

Dooley, watching from the stands, had to admit that his young understudy's performance was impressive enough to illustrate England's strength in depth. 'None of us can take our positions for granted,' he said.

As for the moment, Johnson is content to have made the best of his opportunity. 'The only thing that's a bit disappointing is that my name wasn't even in the match programme,' he said, his late call to the colours defeating the best efforts of the publishers.

While it all went by in 'a bit of a blur' for Johnson, Dooley said: 'Martin did a job for us. He took three or four crucial balls for us at the end when we were just holding on and were under pressure. I'm delighted for him.'

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