England v Samoa: Arch pragmatist Johnson happy to go back to the grind

Martin Johnson cut a chirpier figure after the dogged victory over Samoa than after last week's scintillating destruction of Australia as he considered his team to have learned important lessons

Following last week's all-action 35-18 defeat of the Wallabies, England had to slog it out with the almost indestructible islanders who even had the temerity to take a second-half lead when Paul Williams scored their first-ever Twickenham try.

Scores by Matt Banahan and Tom Croft and some calming penalties from Toby Flood pulled England into clear water so that Fautua Otto's last-gasp try made no difference.

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"Some of the guys were a bit disappointed but I said 'that's Test rugby, we've ground our way to a win'," Johnson said. "It was quite frustrating to watch but good in a way for the players to go through it."

With Samoa's fearsome tackling and commitment to the breakdown England were never likely to reproduce the free-running back play that had everyone so excited a week ago. Johnson, ever the pragmatist, had no complaints about that.

"It was a very different game. There were lots of re-set scrums, lots of penalties, lots of bodies around the breakdown slowing things down, so getting quicker ball was hard. I think we adapted to it quite well," he said.

"I'd said to the guys during the week that if it takes 75 minutes to break them down then that's what it takes and today it probably took us 60. We could have scored a couple in the first half but in a way it was a good thing we didn't."

Johnson said he was not entirely convinced by some of the quick-tap options his players took from penalties awarded well within Flood's range, particularly in the first period as his side struggled to establish a 6-3 half-time lead. He was also not entirely comfortable with Banahan echoing Chris Ashton last week by punching the air en route to scoring. "I want them to get the ball down before they start celebrating," he said.

Scorers: England: Tries: Banahan, Croft. Cons: Flood 2. Pens: Flood 4. Samoa: Tries: Williams, Otto. Pens: Williams

England: B Foden; C Ashton, M Banahan, S Hape, M Cueto; T Flood, B Youngs; A Sheridan, D Hartley, A Wilson, C Lawes, T Palmer, J Haskell, H Fourie, Easter. N Replacements: S Thompson, D Cole, D Attwood, T Croft, D Care, C Hodgson, D Armitage.

Samoa: P Williams; D Lemi, G Pisi, S Mapusua, A Tuilagi; T Lavea, K Fotualii; S Taulafo, M Schwalger, A Perenise, A. Perenise, F Levi, K Thompson, O Treviranus, M Salavea, G Stowers. Replacements: T Paulo, C Johnston, J Tekori, A Aiono, J Poluleuligaga, G Williams, F Otto.

Referee: Fitzgibbon (IRU) Attendance: 70,553

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