June International Tours

Johnson happy with life as it is

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Martin Johnson has no ambition to take on the role of restoring the England rugby team to their former glory.

The inspirational 2003 World Cup-winning captain was touted as a future head coach before Brian Ashton succeeded Andy Robinson last season, but he insists taking charge of his own team is not part of his plans.

“It’s not the thing I’ve wanted to do. I didn’t get into this game to play and coach – I got into this game to play,” he said.

“Coaching’s a very different thing from playing the game.”

Since bringing the curtain down on his playing career with Leicester two years ago, 37-year-old Johnson has enjoyed himself as something of a roving ambassador for rugby.

“There is life outside rugby and I am enjoying it,” insisted Johnson, who undertook a coaching trip to China last year and whose recent travels have included France, South Africa and the USA.

“I just help promote the game a little bit as much as anything, and I’ve enjoyed doing what I’ve been doing.

“I’ve no plans to get into coaching at the moment. The main criteria to go and do that is a huge enthusiasm but I don’t feel that. Maybe in the future that will change.

“Maybe I’ll get involved with the younger guys, mentoring them and passing the experience on.

“But actually coaching and managing a team is not for me. It’s not something I’ve had a real desire to go and do. If I had, I’d have done it.”

As a figurehead for the World Cup 2007 Emirates Airlines Trophy Tour, Johnson was on Thursday reunited with the Webb Ellis Trophy at The Stoop – home of Harlequins – where his duties included conducting a coaching session for 30 youngsters.

On his recent American adventure, Johnson, a big fan of American football, took the opportunity to take part in a game and scored a touchdown in between coaching young players in the arts of rugby.

He added: “In the States, rugby’s low down on the radar compared to the big sports there but there’s huge enthusiasm for it. It was heartening really.

“They produce some great athletes so there’s potential there in sevens, or whatever they have initially, to give those guys exposure.

“They are amateur players mainly – they have a few guys playing professionally in Europe but they need the exposure to the highest level of rugby whenever they can get it.

“The potential out there for rugby could be huge.”

 

365 Digital

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