England 12 v France 19 8th October 2011
As I predicted at the start of the tournament, England didn’t make it past the quarter finals and as I wrote that I would be, I’m glad they’re out.
Not that I disagree with supporting your ‘nation’ in international sporting contests but as I said earlier, Martin Johnson never deserved the job and has never achieved or did anything that suggested he could do it.
They brought him in at great expense to please the Telegraph readers and all other rugby followers who know nothing about rugby except what they’re told to think by the media in the process removing Brian Ashton, the closest thing to a visionary we’ve had in England rugby for some time.
So Jonno’s inspritional? Bring him in to give a teamtalk. Don’t make him manager! England are predictable (the November 2010 victory over Australia the exception to the generally conservative performances of his tenure); they give away countless penalties; and they seem clueless on the field. I think all three accusations can fall at Johnson’s oversized feet.
1. Great player as he was, he does not have any coaching experience. I imagine him to be authoritarian, to think that ‘giving them a roasting’ in the dressing room is the way to fix problems. You need a team who can take responsibility for themselves on the pitch, who can react to what’s in front of them, to play the ref, to think on their feet, not to be boxed in or frozen by thoughts of what they should do. This is precisely what England under Johnson are not.
2. Look at him in the manager’s box on TV – swearing, thumping the walls etc. – how can he expect his team to have discipline? It’s no good shouting at players telling them not to give away penalties- as he says it in public a lot I imagine he says it with at least the same amount of vehemence behind closed doors too.
3. As for leaders, he could never even decide on his captain – sacking Borthwick (still as good as any other second row in the country in my book depsite the ignorant criticism he received early on when pundits were astonished to discover that Johnson was not the miracle worker they said he would be). He appointed Moody then seemed to lose faith in Moody and half went with Tindall only to reinstate Moody again.
When England were behind in the French game and needed clear heads why subsititute your captain and your experienced fly-half? It doesn’t make sense?