Johnno should have turned down England

ENGLAND’S World Cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward revealed he advised Martin Johnson to turn down his old job back in 2008 and believes the Rugby Football Union took a gamble that was always likely to backfire by hiring a rookie manager.

Johnson, who resigned on Wednesday after three-and-a-half years in the role, led the Red Rose during the side’s wretched World Cup campaign which ended in ignominious defeat against France at the quarter-final stage.

That failure, coupled with the various off-field controversies in New Zealand that tarnished the reputation of the England team, ultimately forced Johnson’s hand, but Woodward believes he should never have taken the job in the first place.

He said: “Let’s be brutally honest, he had no coaching experience, no management experience so it was a huge risk by those who put him in and I just don’t feel they put any coaches with him or behind him to negate that risk.

“He actually rang before he took the job and he said what do you think? And I actually said no. I said in my professional opinion you should come to Leicester. Spend four or five years at Leicester, really learn your stripes.

“To see Martin like that at the press conference, in that position is extremely sad for him and it’s quite sad for English rugby. If we have allowed a rookie coach to actually run his own ship for three-and-a-half years without any assessment or analysis, I think that is so wrong.”

The RFU has already begun the process of identifying Johnson’s successor and Woodward, who managed the team previously between 1997 and 2004, had been mentioned as a possible contender.

But the 55-year-old insists he has no intention of leaving his role as the British Olympic Association’s Director of Elite Performance less than a year before next summer’s Games begin.

He said: “I’m totally committed to my Olympic role until after 2012. I’ve got no wish to coach England again.

“If I were advising the RFU I would be looking to delay this now. There’s a couple of reasons. They have a new Chief Executive starting, I’d want to wait until he, or she, are in so they can make the decision too.

“I’d want to put a caretaker coach in until we can get it right because we must get it right.”