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Thread: England wary of Samoa

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    England wary of Samoa

    England wary of Samoa

    September 17, 2007 - 1:42PM

    England defence coach Mike Ford says he expects Samoa to run at a "million miles an hour" against the champions in Nantes on Saturday in what is now a must-win encounter for both sides if they want to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.

    England were left on the backfoot after South Africa thrashed them 36-0 at the Stade de France on Friday only for Tonga to upset the formbook 48 hours later in Montpellier by beating Samoa 19-15 despite finishing the match against their Pacific Island rivals with 13 men after a sending-off and a yellow card.

    Ford, speaking before Sunday's surprise result, said of Samoa: "Defensively they are very strong individuals and they run a million miles an hour at you.

    "They've got a great offloading game and that always creates problems should they have a good day at the office.

    "Against South Africa (when Samoa lost 59-7), I thought for probably up to 45 minutes into the game, they were in it and when they got a try disallowed that might have changed the tempo.

    "But the longer these teams are in the game, as you saw (on Saturday) with Georgia (only beaten 14-10 by Ireland), it becomes harder."

    England have struggled to impose themselves on their opponents so far, looking sluggish during an unimpressive 28-10 opening Pool A win against the United States before being overwhelmed by the Springboks.

    At the end of the last World Cup, five England players - Will Greenwood, Jonny Wilkinson, Lawrence Dallaglio, Martin Johnson and Phil Vickery - made it into the World XV chosen at the end of the tournament.

    But World Cup-winning leader Johnson and centre Greenwood have both since retired. Meanwhile No 8 Dallaglio was dropped for Friday's match where current captain Phil Vickery was serving the first of a two-game ban for tripping that rules him out of the Samoa match.

    And as for Wilkinson, the drop-goal hero of England's final victory four years ago, he has yet to feature at this World Cup because of an ankle injury.

    Ford, in a remarkably frank assessment, said there was no getting away from the lack of quality within the 2007 England squad.

    "That's no disrespect to anybody, we just haven't got them sort of world-class players in our team.

    "It is disappointing. In 2003, I think everyone would agree, we had six or seven (players) who would probably get in a World XV. I'm not too sure now, how many we would get in."

    But he was adamant England had the character to rally against Samoa, pointing to stand-in captain Martin Corry and Wilkinson as examples of the team's spirit.

    "People are calling us underdogs now even against Samoa. But Martin Corry has never been an underdog in his life, and Jonny Wilkinson hasn't either."

    Even if they beat Samoa, England are likely to need a win over Tonga in their final Pool match on September 28 at Paris's Parc des Princes to be sure of a last eight spot.

    AFP

    September 17, 2007 - 1:42PM

    England defence coach Mike Ford says he expects Samoa to run at a "million miles an hour" against the champions in Nantes on Saturday in what is now a must-win encounter for both sides if they want to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.

    England were left on the backfoot after South Africa thrashed them 36-0 at the Stade de France on Friday only for Tonga to upset the formbook 48 hours later in Montpellier by beating Samoa 19-15 despite finishing the match against their Pacific Island rivals with 13 men after a sending-off and a yellow card.

    Ford, speaking before Sunday's surprise result, said of Samoa: "Defensively they are very strong individuals and they run a million miles an hour at you.

    "They've got a great offloading game and that always creates problems should they have a good day at the office.

    "Against South Africa (when Samoa lost 59-7), I thought for probably up to 45 minutes into the game, they were in it and when they got a try disallowed that might have changed the tempo.

    "But the longer these teams are in the game, as you saw (on Saturday) with Georgia (only beaten 14-10 by Ireland), it becomes harder."

    England have struggled to impose themselves on their opponents so far, looking sluggish during an unimpressive 28-10 opening Pool A win against the United States before being overwhelmed by the Springboks.

    At the end of the last World Cup, five England players - Will Greenwood, Jonny Wilkinson, Lawrence Dallaglio, Martin Johnson and Phil Vickery - made it into the World XV chosen at the end of the tournament.

    But World Cup-winning leader Johnson and centre Greenwood have both since retired. Meanwhile No 8 Dallaglio was dropped for Friday's match where current captain Phil Vickery was serving the first of a two-game ban for tripping that rules him out of the Samoa match.

    And as for Wilkinson, the drop-goal hero of England's final victory four years ago, he has yet to feature at this World Cup because of an ankle injury.

    Ford, in a remarkably frank assessment, said there was no getting away from the lack of quality within the 2007 England squad.

    "That's no disrespect to anybody, we just haven't got them sort of world-class players in our team.

    "It is disappointing. In 2003, I think everyone would agree, we had six or seven (players) who would probably get in a World XV. I'm not too sure now, how many we would get in."

    But he was adamant England had the character to rally against Samoa, pointing to stand-in captain Martin Corry and Wilkinson as examples of the team's spirit.

    "People are calling us underdogs now even against Samoa. But Martin Corry has never been an underdog in his life, and Jonny Wilkinson hasn't either."

    Even if they beat Samoa, England are likely to need a win over Tonga in their final Pool match on September 28 at Paris's Parc des Princes to be sure of a last eight spot.

    AFP

    Hurry up, Jonny, England needs you


    Rudi Maxwell, Paris | September 17, 2007

    ENGLAND is pinning its hopes on a World Cup defence with the man whose boot broke the deadlock in the final against Australia in Sydney last time: Jonny Wilkinson.

    After its 36-0 loss to South Africa on Saturday at the Stade de France, there was further bad news for England, with injuries to Jason Robinson and Jamie Noon.

    Noon suffered a medial ligament strain to his left knee and has been ruled out of the tournament, while Robinson injured his hamstring but will stay with the squad.

    With captain Phil Vickery still to serve one match of a two-game suspension and regular back-up five-eighth Olly Barkley also injured, the only bright spot for England in its preparation to take on Samoa next Saturday was that Wilkinson had started testing his troublesome ankle by kicking at training.

    If Australia finishes top of its group - and it should with only pool games against Fiji and Canada remaining - it will most likely meet England in a quarter-final, if the defending champion beats Samoa on Saturday.

    Despite its performance against the Springboks, stand-in captain Martin Corrie claimed England had not lacked fighting spirit.

    "We're all a bit shell-shocked. We'll dust ourselves off and start focusing on Samoa," Corrie said.

    "We went out there thinking we could win but we gave them 20 points and just never caught up."

    South Africa began confidently against England and, after 10 minutes, the Springboks were sure they had the match won.

    Instead of using speedy wingers Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen, the Boks chose to pile backs behind the breakdown then pass the ball back for drop-goal attempts, fullback Percy Montgomery missing two and inside centre Francois Steyn one, with only one try to the good.

    But Pietersen was not to be denied and scored two tries, one at the end of the first half.

    Their second-half approach was no better, Montgomery kicking a final penalty rather than attempting to score a fourth bonus-point try.

    Springboks coach Jake White defended the approach.

    "It's not like the Super 14 where a bonus point decides who makes finals," White said.

    "And I'm sure the boys were just happy to score another three points against England."

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  2. #2
    Champion Contributor Seldom's Avatar
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    Samoa will have more than just the Island nation behind them when they meet England!!!!! GO MANU SAMOA.

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    Senior Player Contributor hopep's Avatar
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    On current form I suspect that the England coach would be wary of the Widggemultha under 19's !

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    Champion Contributor Seldom's Avatar
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    totally agree withyou H

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    GO SAMOA

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