England’s World Cup odds on the drift following loss to Wales
Spare a thought for Martin Johnson’s family who have to accompany the England coach on holiday this week.
Johnson was left fuming by England’s inability to break the Welsh defence despite dominating most of the match at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, and the England coach has two weeks to figure out what went wrong before England’s final warm-up match with Ireland.
Re-runs of Saturday’s game will dominate the dvd player in Johnson’s villa, and the England players can expect a backlash when they return to training next Monday.
Mike Tindall did his captaincy role no favours having watched his side make 10 forays into the Welsh 22 and come away with no points.
Matt Banahan may well have lost his seat on the plane having held England’s finest opportunity to score, but his 6ft 7in, 18st frame was stopped in his tracks by the 5ft 7in Shane Williams.
Toby Flood failed to command England’s backline with any authority and faces serious competition from Jonny Wilkinson, while Shontayne Hape failed to endear himself to the England faithful with another disappointing display.
Mark Cueto has now scored just the one try in 24 Tests and why Johnson continues to place his faith in the ageing Sale Sharks winger when he has the likes of Delon Armitage and Charlie Sharples at his disposal is staggering.
The pack was so dominant at the set-piece that it’s hard to fault their effort, but the backline didn’t get much attacking support from the second row or the back row and Johnson faces many conundrums in his selection for the world cup.
England travel to Dublin in 12 days for a final warm-up game with Ireland that will be just as tough as the one they faced on Saturday.
Heading into the World Cup on the back of two defeats would have a damaging effect on England’s confidence and Johnson needs to resolve the issues quickly.