Croft credits Johnno
Tom Croft admits fear of criticism from Martin Johnson helped motivate England against the French.
Last Updated: 16/03/09 4:49pm
Tom Croft admits fear of criticism from boss Martin Johnson helped motivate England in victory against the French.
The ailing England team bounced back from defeats to Wales and Ireland in some style against Les Bleus on Sunday, running in five tries in a 34-10 rout.
Improvements in every quarter, including perhaps most significantly discipline, helped win back the support of the Twickenham crowd and give the team a big lift heading into their final tie of the RBS Six Nations.
And for recalled Leicester flanker Croft, named Man of the Match on Sunday, things are looking up as the team begins to gel.
"Johnno can be a scary man sometimes when you walk back in the dressing room so the best thing is to play well and get a win and stay on the right side of him. It's brilliant for him and brilliant for the team," Croft said after the triumph.
"We owed ourselves that performance. There has been frustration in the camp but that has also led to excitement. We were itching to get on the field to put things right and prove people wrong to those people who doubted us.
"I still see myself as fresh-faced young boy. There are guys with 60, 70 caps above me. It is an exciting time.
"Things are going well at Leicester and I want to bring my form with the Tigers to the England side. It's important we build on this performance."
Wasps centre Riki Flutey, who scored two tries in his best display to date for England, also feels everything is beginning to click.
"We take a lot of confidence out of the performance. It was obvious guys were beginning to understand their roles and responsibilities in attack. The set-piece moves went really well," Flutey said.
"It was nice scoring in the first few minutes and having the crowd right behind us from the word go. That was fantastic. Just awesome.
"But now we have to look at the second-half and see how we can put together an 80-minute performance. We were confident at half-time and we talked about going back out there and doing the same. But we turned the ball over too often.
"Keeping 15 players on the field was huge for us. Before this game we hadn't conceded any tries with 15 players on the field so we always had confidence in our defence."
England take on Scotland in their final match of the competition on Saturday with the Calcutta Cup at stake.