England Saxons 41-14 Tonga, Churchill Cup, June 12
Hodgson hails Saxons pack
June 12, 2011
England Saxons prop Matt Stevens was at his destructive best in the set-piece at Kingsholm © Getty Images
Paul Hodgson collected the man of the match award after the England Saxons' 41-14 demolition of Tonga in Gloucester on Sunday but the scrum-half insists that it was the forwards that deserved all of the credit for the victory.
England forced three penalty tries Kingsholm as their pack went about completely dismantling their opponents' scrum in inclement weather conditions at Kingsholm. Their dominance in the set-piece presented Hodgson with the perfect platform on which to run the game, something which he was quick to acknowledge when speaking to Sky Sports immediately after the full-time whistle.
"It's was difficult but the boys did very well," he said. "The ball was very slippery but we held on to it well and the forwards were outstanding.
"It makes the difference when you feel you are behind a pack that is dominating and you can dictate everything else. I don't think I have (played in a game with three penalty tries) but it goes to show how strong our front five and back row were, they worked hard in those scrums and we have worked very hard in that area since the Baa-Baas game."
Martin Johnson was in attendance at Kingsholm but Hodgson insisted that the knowledge that the England team manager was looking on from the stands did not place any extra pressure on the Saxons' World Cup hopefuls.
"From within we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We all want to progress but this is a cohesive unit we have, and we are playing some good stuff," he said.
Meanwhile, Saxons boss Stuart Lancaster was pleased with his side's performance and is looking forward to next weekend's Churchill Cup decider against Canada, which is a repeat of last year's final.
"The scrum looked after itself and we managed the game and the conditions well," he said. "Next week is the last game of the season for the guys and there is nothing better to play in. It's about a few good training sessions and making sure we are focused."
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