Johnson smiling again after England win

England 34 France 10
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The Independent Online

England manager Martin Johnson was full of smiles at Twickenham tonight following the stunning 34-10, five-try victory over France.

"When we do what we did today we look like a good team," said Johnson. "That was great.

"I don't think our intensity level was higher. Our precision level was better - guys saw opportunities and took them.

"I am very happy for the guys and there's a good feeling of satisfaction in the changing room.

"When you lose you are going to get criticised - you know that - and defeat is a very realistic possibility when you are playing France, so it's great."

On Steve Borthwick, under increasing fire as captain following the losses to Wales and Ireland, Johnson added: "I don't think he has to answer criticism, but I am happy for him that all the heartache he has had has paid off.

"It just showed that when we executed what we wanted to do we could open them up and score tries.

"The guys have confidence in what we are doing and to turn them into clinical tries was great. The coaching staff have put a lot of work in.

"There are still lots of improvements to make, but in the heat of the game there are always going to be mistakes and it's minimising them."

England, who scored all their points in the first 42 minutes, knew going into the game that their hopes of the championship were already over.

But, having ended France's chances and set up a decider between Wales and Ireland in Cardiff, Johnson said that next Saturday's visit of Scotland was still "a big game".

"It will be a tough, tough test. Scotland are very competitive and if they'd taken their chances against Wales it could have been very different.

"This championship has been fantastic and we will enjoy tonight."

Johnson must have taken satisfaction that flanker Tom Croft, one of the three players he brought in, was named man of the match.

"He had an important line-out role and he handled their physicality around the fringes.

"Centres Mike Tindall and Riki Flutey are getting better and better. Mike brings that leadership and his defence work is solid, while Riki even ripped the ball off Chabal for one of his tries."

French coach Marc Lievremont said: "We wanted to follow up what we did against Wales, but there was no game today.

"Every coach knows the difficulties of playing at Twickenham, but I'm a bit disappointed. The start of the game was terrible for us.

"We had a lot of turnovers, lost the ball in the contact, didn't contest on the floor and England got confident."

Captain Lionel Nallet added: "We never really got into the game. We started playing individually, not organised together and we gave a lot of confidence to England.

"Our loss of discipline cost us a lot of points."

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