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Woodward backs Johnson as England Coach


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World Cup-winning captain Martin Johnson has been urged to take a full coaching role with England by former head coach Sir Clive Woodward.

Johnson is expected to be named England team manager this week.

But Woodward, who lead England to their 2003 World Cup triumph in Australia, believes Johnson should target a bigger role.

“Get your hands dirty and coach. If I were Martin, I would demand the title of head coach,” Woodward wrote in The Sunday Times.

“If he does not take an active part, he will find it very hard to gain the respect of the players.

“If he simply stands there watching and snarling he will soon be unpicked by everybody.”

Woodward backed Johnson as the man to reestablish England as a world force but he warned that he must not be distracted by “parasites” and “termites” within the Rugby Football Union.

“Martin should surround himself with people he gets on with, people he can have fun with and people he can trust when the pressure comes on,” said Woodward.

But he sees little likelihood of Brian Ashton, the current coach, being absorbed into Johnson’s panel or Jake White, South Africa’s 2007 World Cup-winning coach, who has expressed an interest in the England job.

“Frankly, if Martin keeps Ashton under him or goes for White, it would smack of a compromise. It could be dangerous. I cannot imagine either Jake or Brian sitting down having a few beers with Martin and chewing the fat all night.

“He will need a mentor urgently. (Former Australia coach) Eddie Jones could be the right man for the role in the short term.”


And Woodward believes Johnson should turn to members of the 2003 World Cup-winning squad.

“It would be a mistake thinking Martin has to bring in a massively experienced coach. If he goes to the 2003 World Cup team, there are people he knows and can trust, they are special people who operated in a fantastic environment.”

Sapa-AFP – Rugbyweek.com   

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