WINGER Mark Cueto has hit back at criticism of England’s scrappy weekend victory over Six Nations minnows Italy.
The manner in which England limped to a 17-12 win in Rome did little to convince the doubters they will end a seven-year wait for a Grand Slam, with even No8 Nick Easter admitting: “My God, that was boring.”
But Cueto insists that while the performance may have left something to be desired, far more important was the fact they maintained their winning start to the tournament.
“You are in a no-win situation against Italy,” said the Sale Sharks star. “If you win like we did everyone is booing as you come off and expects you to win by more. If you win by more everyone says ‘no disrespect, but it is only Italy’.
“We have won the game, we are two from two which is where we want to be.
“We are frustrated with how the game went. You can’t disrespect the Italians. We knew exactly what they were going to do and unfortunately we allowed them to do it in a way. They are niggly, they frustrate you and they make it difficult to play. But the bottom line is we got a win.”
England’s next opponents Ireland, meanwhile, could be without hooker Jerry Flannery for that fixture after he was cited for kicking France wing Alexis Palisson during Saturday’s defeat in Paris.
Flannery’s case will be heard this week. England face Ireland at Twickenham on 27 February.