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Premiership Rugby

It’s all about winning’ says Johnson

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Johnson and his charges came under fire again after a tryless 24-7 win over France in the second semi-final at the Telstra Stadium in Sydney on Sunday. Fly-half Jonny Wilkinson scored all of England's points with his boot – something that has not been missed by the world media.

Calls for a reduction in points for the drop-goal have begun making the rounds as the left-footed Wilkinson slotted over three (two off his right boot) during the game. The majority of these cries, however, have come from the southern hemisphere.

Johnson, meanwhile, is not fazed by the criticism and has vowed England will continue with their winning formula – especially if it means claiming the Webb Ellis Cup for the first time.

"If we've got to win ugly, then fine. Just as long as we win," Johnson said.

"It was a World Cup semi-final. Either team will take a one-point or three-point win.

"If you don't play an all-singing. all-dancing game, people think it's not great, but it's about winning the matches. I know I keep boring myself by saying it, but it's about winning."

In a game limited by poor weather, England tightened up, holed up in the forwards and drove the French pack back, leaving Wilkinson free to slot the points with the boot. Not much of a spectacle, but effective nonetheless.

"When it comes down to it, it's quite a simple game," Johnson said. "When you win the ball, go forward with it and play a good kicking game. We did that against France and that's why we won the game."

England next meet hosts Australia in the Final in Sydney, a team the Six Nations champions have beaten in their last four matches, but coach Clive Woodward has no regard for history.

"I don't think it is too relevant now. They [the Wallabies] have raised the intensity of their game a few notches since then. They're a very clever, very shrewd side," said Woodward.

"They know how to peak and how to nullify an opponent, which they did when they ground down New Zealand. When you get to this stage, the mental factor is as important as the physical one."


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