x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

One game at a time for Johnson

England are not taking the impending prospect of a first Six Nations Grand Slam since 2003 for granted.

 

England manager keeping quiet over Grand Slam talk

Martin Johnson, the England team manager, has said he and his team are taking nothing for granted about the prospects of a possible Grand Slam despite his side's impressive victory over France, the champions, on Saturday.

The 17-9 win at Twickenham has left the English in pole position to take the Six Nations and also claim a first Grand Slam since 2003.

But Johnson said: "No one has mentioned those words [Grand Slam] in my presence.

"That's crazy. If you are trying to win anything, you concentrate on what you need to do to win games, otherwise you are setting yourself up for a fall."

Next up for England are Scotland on Saturday, March 12, before they finish off their campaign against Ireland in Dublin on March 19, and James Haskell, the flanker, said he was wary of their next opponents, even if they have lost all three of their games to date in the tournament and have lost their last 10 games at Twickenham.

"We have won three games. Everyone knows Scotland would love nothing more than to put us back in our box," Haskell said.

"Everyone is looking at the next two big games. We have two massive obstacles in our way and what a shame it would be to let it go with a bit of complacency."

Ben Youngs, the scrum-half, added that despite beating the French, he and a number of his teammates had been frustrated with their display.

"Some guys are disappointed with their personal performances, me included," he said. "We demand high standards.

"There were a lot of us frustrated at half time and getting a bit angry with each other. I gave the forwards a bit of a rollicking."

England have wins against Wales, Italy and France to their name and they will be strong favourites against a Scottish side, who were beaten 21-18 by Ireland to go with their earlier setbacks against France and Wales.

Alastair Kellock, the Scotland captain, said he had been encouraged by his team's showing against Ireland, and is hopeful they can raise their game against England.

"It's disappointing to lose matches, but it was a far better performance than two weeks ago [the 24-6 loss to Wales]," he said.

"It's about moving forward now, going down to Twickenham and putting in a better performance - because it will have to be."

* Agencies