England boss Martin Johnson annoyed by loss to Maori, England v Samoa rugby

Manager Martin Johnson was left frustrated as his midweek side ended England’s five-match summer tour with a 35-28 defeat by the New Zealand Maori.

“It rankles losing that game because there was a definite chance to win it,” said Johnson. “I am a bit grumpy.

“There are so many good things to come out of this tour, it was a bit annoying not to finish it off. But ultimately they probably deserved it.

England led 13-0 inside the first 10 minutes after an early Steffon Armitage try before falling 17-13 behind, but responded with tries from Danny Care and Chris Ashton to take a 28-17 lead at half-time.

But the tourists failed to score in the second period as Hosea Gear completed a sensational hat-trick of tries for the Maori to celebrate their centenary in style.

“It’s disappointing,” Johnson admitted. “These guys have improved game on game and in the first half they did very well.

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“But we were not aware enough when they went the length of the field to score [their first try] and we lost a bit of composure in the second half. They were more dangerous in attack and we struggled to convert pressure into points – that really cost us.

“We didn’t handle their runners at the start of the second half, and if you concede four tries, you are probably going to lose.

“We probably kicked away too much ball in the second half when we could have backed ourselves a bit more.”

Despite his disappointment at Wednesday’s defeat, Johnson was satisfied with an overall tour record showing two wins, one draw and two defeats from five matches.

“If you look at the results we have done OK but the effect of the tour on the team and the wider squad has been absolutely fantastic,” added Johnson, who now has more contenders for a revamped elite squad to be announced next month.

“A few people doubted whether it was a good idea to take these midweek games and this extra one [against the Maori] after a two-Test series and a long season.

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“But the midweek guys have kept their end up and done a fantastic job. Some guys have really put themselves in contention for the bigger squad.”

As well as youngsters such as Ben Youngs, Chris Ashton, Ben Foden, Dan Cole and Courtney Lawes forcibly asserting their Test credentials, Johnson also took heart from the contributions of others to the second-string side.

Charlie Hodgson “controlled the game” and “showed a lot of maturity,” noted Johnson, who also singled out Dan Ward-Smith, Phil Dowson, Chris Robshaw, Dave Attwood, Geoff Parling, Brad Barritt and David Strettle as others who have pressed their claims. Corporate Hospitality Group provides England V Samoa Hospitality with best prices.

England Chris Ashton in League of his own, England V New Zealand

England wing Chris Ashton has thanked rugby league for aiding make him a union star.

Ashton plays his 36th and last sport of a remarkable marketing campaign today when he lines up towards the New Zealand Maori in Napier.

He reappears just 4 days soon after scoring his 25th try out of the time in England’s breakthrough win over Australia.

No other member of Martin Johnson’s Test XV has been asked to begin what is the previous match of this Australasian tour.

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But Ashton, who went from union struggler considering a league return to Premiership player of the time in the room of five months, is no normal player.

And getting compensated tribute to Northampton coach and Environment Cup winner Paul Grayson for aiding his transformation, he yesterday paid his dues to rugby league.

“My attempt towards Australia arrived from currently being in the correct location at the appropriate time,” mentioned the Saints wing, who manufactured his name in league with Wigan.

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“I do like to hang close to at the back again of rucks and wait for a little gap to open up up. It can be some thing I have taken from rugby league – waiting around for somebody to make a break and then getting on the conclude of it.”

But soon after scoring thirty tries in fifty two games for Wigan he took the plunge and switched codes when signing for Grayson at Franklin’s Gardens.

Inside a few years he was in the England crew and in the area of a few appearances he has grow to be a single of the squad’s most significant characters.

“At Saints he’s also usually up to no excellent, constantly pranking close to, generating mischief,” explained Northampton coach Dorian West.

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“But he is a true good character to have about, as it looks England are finding.”

It was because of, in no modest part, to the threat Ashton poses with ball in hand that England caught out Australia by switching their tactics between the very first and 2nd Examination.

England scrummaged the Wallabies into the ground in Perth – even though Ashton and his fellow backs kicked their heels in aggravation.

But a week on they unleashed their strike runners, resulting in tries by Ashton and Ben Youngs from sniping solo runs.

“We said we had been just likely to run it, that is what we did and it manufactured a complete big difference,” Ashton said. “I will not know if we are beginning to gel collectively now, but it felt quite different on the pitch.”

England’s midweek crew are unbeaten right after a draw and a win in two matches versus the Australian Barbarians. Company Hospitality Group supply England V New Zealand Hospitality with best price tag.