WILKO’S WAR CRY

Midweek Sport - - NEWS - By JAKE KING in Dunedin

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.

Bungee

“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.”

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