Rugby World Cup: Wilkinson admits lessons must be learnt

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Jonny Wilkinson is convinced England are still a threat in this World Cup – but only if they improve drastically on their opening performances.

Martin Johnson’s side were turgid and lacking ideas in their tight win against Argentina, while a lack of discipline nearly cost them against a poor Georgia side.

Georgia were much better at the breakdown in first-half of their game and forced England to concede far too many penalties – the final score would have been very different to 41-10 if Georgia hadn’t missed five very makeable penalties during the 80 minutes.

Speaking to the Guardian, Wilkinson said: “People need to be accountable for situations where they have a job to do which makes the rest of the team function.

“It’s a case of people realising that the time for saying, ‘Oh, I thought this or that,’ isn’t going to cut it.

“The answer has to be, be behind the back foot and understand when the ref says ‘hands off.’

“Sooner or later it’s got to stop. The guys have taken it on board. They realise that once is a mistake, twice is a lot worse and three times just can’t happen.”

England should sweep past Romania in their next game, but the performance is now nearly as important as the result.

England are currently 10/11 to beat Romania with a 43 point handicap and, with the harsh words of Johnson still ringing in their ears, they will be looking for a reaction .

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