Monday, November 10, 2008
England got their Autumn Tests campaign off to a good start on Saturday as they defeated the Pacific Islanders 39-13 at Twickenham. The match was expected to be a much tighter affair, but the experience and professionalism of the England outfit was too good the Islanders, who despite having a few big name stars, simply couldnt gel as a unit.
A charge down try from Seru Rabeni gave them some hope early on, but the English speed and power was too much of a factor for the newly combined opposition.
If theres a positive that can be taken from the match for the tourists, its that they will have had a chance to try out a few combinations, and will have learnt some valuable lessons ahead of their remaining matches against both France and Italy.
France at home are very tough," captain Moses Rauluni conceded. "We will have to go back to the drawing-board and see where our mistakes were.
"England controlled the ball better than we did. The French are a lot like us and will attack from anywhere so it's going to be a tough game.
"But we'll have a week to prepare and now we've played one game together."
England outscored the Islanders by five tries to one, but will face a totally different type of challenge over the next few weeks as they take on the might of Australia, South Africa, and then New Zealand.
I'm reasonably happy with that," said Johnson. "It was stop-start. That's understandable because this was our first match together and we were trying to put some things together."
"We're in a pretty good place and we're looking forward to next week."
Coach Johnson has since suggested that England will find their next match against Australia a far easier prospect to deal with than the unpredictable Pacific Islanders. That is not to be taken out of context though, as naturally theyll be able to prepare better against a side they know more about.
All in all, it was a solid performance by England, setting up an intriguing encounter against the Wallabies this coming weekend.
Pacific Islanders combined war dance - Siva Tau