The World Cup starts now, insists bullish Johnson

Manager looks to battle against the Scots after 67-3 win over Romania

Click to follow
The Independent Online

England have been in New Zealand for almost a month and yesterday they put 10 tries past Romania, but their manager, Martin Johnson, looked ahead to Saturday's match against Scotland and said: "The World Cup really starts now."

The Scots play Argentina in Wellington this morning. A win for the Pumas would leave the three leading lights in Pool B playing for two quarter-final places and England still in danger of early elimination. The considerable prize to the pool winners will be avoiding the All Blacks, who yesterday beat France 37-17.

England know that beating the old enemy in Auckland is likely to set up a quarter-final with the French and a possible meeting with Ireland or Wales in the last four on 15 October.

"It will be a scrap next week," Johnson said, after a poor Romania side who had their minds on Wednesday's meeting with Georgia conceded hat-tricks of tries to the England wings, Mark Cueto and Chris Ashton.

"We go into the last week of the pool with three wins and it's where we wanted to be, but the mental preparation has to be good now to get us ready. Hopefully Scotland will have an incredibly tough, physical game with Argentina in the meantime."

Mike Tindall had a quiet first match since making headlines over a night's drinking in Queenstown but the fly-half Jonny Wilkinson had a run-in with the referee for attempting to flout the laws by twice requesting to use a particular ball for his goal-kicks.