Johnson not the man for England

Lawrence Dallaglio has warned Twickenham officials not to make a panic appointment and hand World Cup-winning skipper Martin Johnson the vacant England coach’s role.

The Wasps number eight, who will lead a World XV against the South Africans on Sunday, believes Johnson’s lack of coaching experience should rule the former Leicester lock out of the running to replace the departed Andy Robinson.

Dallaglio – who returned from his self-imposed international exile in January – is convinced Rugby Football Union chief executive Francis Baron should opt for experience and appoint the likes of Bristol’s Richard Hill or Wasps’ Shaun Edwards to form their new-look coaching staff.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of people scratching their heads to decide the best way forward,” said Dallaglio, who is pushing for an international recall in time for next year’s Six Nations.

“Martin (Johnson) is someone who is immensely respected for what he’s done but I am sure he will be the first to say he does not have a huge amount of coaching experience.

“But what he does have is an astute rugby brain. It would be nonsensical for him not to be involved, but in what capacity I don’t know.

“He would want to make sure he continues his success in whatever he does. We have some very good coaches in the English game, with the likes of Shaun Edwards and Richard Hill to name but a few.

“It’s important to find the next generation of coaches after that – people like Neil Back and Matt Dawson, if they decide to become coaches. That’s going to be the only way to continue.”

Robinson’s record of just nine wins in 22 Test matches has seen England plummet from number one in the world rankings to a lowly seventh position behind the likes of Ireland and Argentina.

However, Dallaglio refused to blame Robinson and skipper Martin Corry for England’s dramatic fall from grace which culminated in humiliating defeats to Argentina and South Africa at Twickenham in November.

The 34-year-old – who led Wasps to three successive Premiership crowns and European Cup glory in 2004 – instead blamed English rugby’s inability to allow all its international stars to play in the Heineken Cup.

“It was not long ago that everyone was copying what we did in England, before that New Zealand and before that someone else,” added Dallaglio.

“As soon as results change, everyone’s opinions change. The big thing about Ireland, Scotland and Wales is that all their players play in the European Cup and they get to rest between European Cup games.

“And they get to prepare themselves in the right way. Not all of our top players play in the European Cup and that can’t be good for English rugby.

“We need to prepare our elite players in a proper way. I don’t want to sound critical of the structure because it delivered a World Cup but the results need to improve.”

Dallaglio had been tipped to lead England in their final autumn international against South Africa in November only to see Robinson eventually retain Corry as skipper as England crashed to an eighth defeat in nine matches.

The veteran number eight refused to comment on his exclusion from the Twickenham defeat – instead opting to slam the RFU’s mismanagement of the country’s elite players.

“We had a structure that won us the World Cup and everyone was quick to applaud that system and say we had a very strong domestic league,” added Dallaglio.

“Now things are not going so well everyone is quick to criticise the league. There are one or two things that could possibly change but instead I have a question mark over how we treat our top players.

“The fact that Jonny Wilkinson has not played in the international game since the World Cup suggests we are not looking after them. It’s not just bad luck, it can’t be.”

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