Australia 27-17 England, Perth, June 12
Axe hanging over England stars
June 13, 2010

England have been warned that heads will rolls if England fail to beat Australia in Sydney next Saturday.

Harlequins No.8 Nick Easter sounded the warning in the wake of England's latest painful defeat - a 27-17 reverse at the hands of the Wallabies in Perth on Saturday. Easter insisted the excuses ended on Saturday, when England crushed the Australian scrum and earned two penalty tries - but they offered nothing else as the Wallabies' vastly superior attacking game carried them home.

Easter insisted the time to deliver has arrived as he said: "I imagine there will be changes if we lose again next week because we can't go on like that. Our standards have got to be higher than that. I'm sick and tired of being on the wrong end of results. I don't want to be learning more lessons. I want us to be executing properly and winning games.

"I'm as annoyed as I have ever been after an England game, especially when we got it back to 21-17 and the game was ours for the taking. From there top class and world-beating sides would have closed out the game."

On Saturday, England's dominance of the scrum was absolute and the only surprise was that it took until the 68th minute for referee Nigel Owens to sin-bin. But the Wallabies' oozed class in attack, gave nothing in defence against and eventually won going away, with two tries from Quade Cooper adding to Rocky Elsom's opening score.

Easter may not have been specifically referring to changes among the coaching staff but the statistics for England's tracksuit brigade are beginning to make unpleasant reading. England have won just eight of the 22 Tests played since Martin Johnson was appointed as team manager in 2008, an inferior record to predecessors Brian Ashton and Andy Robinson.

Johnson also appears close to the edge of his patience and he cut an exasperated figure at the Subiaco Oval having given his players a dressing room dressing down. "I think that is as harsh as I have been with them," Johnson said afterwards. "We said we should be angry with ourselves. We make it too easy for the opposition."

England's scrum coach Graham Rowntree backed Johnson as the right man for the job and insisted a "breakthrough victory" in Sydney would do wonders for the team. "I have got every faith in him," said Rowntree, who played with Johnson for Leicester and England. He is a mate and I trust him. I trust his rugby knowledge. He is good with people. He is the right man for the job. He gets a couple of wins under his belt and everyone will be saying the same.

"We can't hide from the fact we are not getting those wins but we can't stop trying. I can't think of the last occasion that a team scored two penalty tries and lost. How do you think we feel after last night? We had a chance there with all their injuries. We are gutted. I believe we are still progressing. That team that won the World Cup in 2003 was not perfect for a long time.

"You ask Jonny Wilkinson when the switch was flicked that made England a World Cup-winning team - it was winning in Wellington, winning in Melbourne and at Lansdowne Road a few months earlier. We are desperate for that (breakthrough) win." England will discover overnight whether Mark Cueto will be available for the second Test after he was cited for an alleged dangerous tackle on Berrick Barnes.

Cueto will front a disciplinary hearing at the ARU offices in Sydney, starting at midnight BST, while the rest of the squad start preparations for Tuesday's game against the Australian Barbarians in Gosford.


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