Johnno turns on Andy Robinson

Former England captain Martin Johnson believes his compatriots can improve their World Cup prospects by replacing head coach Andy Robinson.

England ended a demoralising run of seven defeats when they beat South Africa 23-21 at Twickenham.

But Johnson, who skippered England to Rugby World Cup glory three years ago, believes replacing Robinson would make a difference to the faltering world champions.

“There are many reasons England are in the mess they’re in but the buck has to stop with the head coach,” Johnson told the Mail on Sunday.

“He had made some very poor selections and decisions before and during games. Ultimately it’s his responsibility.

“Would it be a knee-jerk reaction to sack Robbo? Let’s be honest we’re not talking two defeats here, we’re talking seven.

“So if you ask me if replacing the head coach at this stage – with 10 months to go before the World Cup – will make a difference, my honest answer is ‘yes’.”

“I know it hasn’t been him dropping the ball or failing to see the gaps or the overlaps. But he has created the environment for these basic errors to happen.”

Johnson cited Robinson’s removal of captain Martin Corry against Scotland in last season’s Six Nations – the match that started England’s run of defeats – and that of Charlie Hodgson against Argentina as evidence of poor decisions.

“You never do that,” said Johnson of the Corry decision. “It opened up a huge can of worms and it was entirely the coach’s making.

“I thought at the time: ‘No, come on!’ He has either made Martin captain or he hasn’t. The game is won in the last 20 minutes, in any case.

“‘It was like taking Charlie off with 25 to go against Argentina. He wasn’t playing well but he was deemed good enough an hour before. He could have turned it round because he was good enough to do so.

“They didn’t take Jonny Wilkinson off at half-time during the World Cup quarter-final against Wales when he was perceived to be having a poor game, did they?”

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