WILKO’S WAR CRY
JONNY WILKINSON has warned it’s “do or die” for England after Martin Johnson gave a doomsday scenario to his players.
The England squad have held a “brutally honest” summit meeting to review their disappointing display in Sunday’s victory over Georgia.
England eventually ran in six tries and won the game 41-10, but manager Johnson was furious at the lack of discipline – accusing his team of being “sloppy”.
Aplace in the semi-finals represents England’s minimum objective and boss Johnson recalled his own 1999 quarterfinals exit to highlight what it would mean to head home early.
“Johnno talked about watching the semi-final on TV and then going out to play Newcastle away,” said Wilko.
“I know what he was talking about because he was playing against me that day.
“In 1999 we got knocked out in the quarter-finals and the next weekend was possibly one of the coldest, rainiest days we had at Newcastle.
“He’s right – that’s how it works. World Cups are do or die.”
Top of England’s list of issues to urgently address is the number of penalties they are conceding.
Wilkinson added: “It’s just about being accountable. I’ve no doubt everyone learned something from the meeting.
“The answer has got to be – be onside, be behind the back foot, take your hands off when the referee says it.”
England have denied that No.8 Nick Easter’s back injury, which kept him out of the Georgia game, was the result of a 134m bungee leap he made last week.
A team spokesman said: “It wasn’t caused by the jump. Nick was able to train the next day after he jumped and the problem only flared up on Friday.”