The standard of Test rugby in the southern hemisphere exceeds that of the Six Nations tournament, according to English coach Martin Johnson.His verdict comes in the aftermath of last weekend’s Tests in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.On Saturday, the All Blacks beat Ireland 66-28 at New Plymouth. The Wallabies accounted for England 27-17 in Perth. Then, in Cape Town, the world champion Springboks beat the reigning Six Nation title-holders France 42-17.”There is a step up in intensity and quality from what we played in the Six Nations, frankly,” he said. ”You saw what the other two teams did in the southern hemisphere [at the weekend]. The way the game is being played here is a little bit different. And we have to get with it pretty quick.”Johnson’s anger after his side lost to the Wallabies in every facet of the game bar the scrum had subsided yesterday when he named his England A team for tonight’s game against the Australian Barbarians at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford.Two reserves from the English side beaten by Australia were named – James Haskell at No.8 and centre Mathew Tait on the bench. Earning first tour starts were winger David Strettle, centre Dominic Waldouck, props Jon Golding and Paul Doran-Jones and No.7 Steffon Armitage.Johnson was not searching for excuses for Saturday’s loss and continued praising the Wallabies ahead of Saturday night’s Test at ANZ Stadium. But as he set out to rectify his side’s failings in kick-chase, running lines, defence and positional play, he conceded last weekend’s Tests in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia were a wake-up call for northern hemisphere teams preparing for the World Cup in New Zealand .”The fatigue of a game like that, the pressure … is from doing it at that level,” he said. ”You have to go through it. For some it was their first big start in the southern hemisphere.”Johnson, under huge pressure to bag a win here, also dismissed suggestions that end-of-season fatigue may have played a role in England, Ireland and France being well beaten.”We have to stop making excuses there. The guys have been pretty fresh,” he said. ”[With] the tempo of the game, at times … we struggled to stop that ball coming out either offloaded or [through] quick re-cycling. That makes it tough. We have to get better there.”The weight of the tackling is probably that little more intense and you have to adapt to it.”However, as much as Johnson admires the Wallabies backs, the team’s defence and loose play, he does not believe they can turn around their front-row failings in a week.”It’s probably limited in what any team could do this week after a pretty tough Test,” he said.Meanwhile, England winger Mark Cueto was yesterday cleared of a dangerous tackle charge at a judicial hearing. Cueto was cited over a first-half incident involving Australian centre Berrick Barnes early in Saturday’s Test, but was cleared by New Zealand judicial officer Peter Hobbs.
南京夜网