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Johnson: Leaked reports 'extreme'

Martin Johnson has launched a passionate defence of his regime in the wake of damning leaked reports into England's failed World Cup campaign.

Johnson, who stood down as team manager last week, described the fallout from the World Cup fiasco as "one of the worst things I have experienced in the game".

The excerpts, published in The London Times, painted the picture of a dysfunctional England squad riven by a lack of trust, with some players motivated more by money than ambition. Based on anonymous quotes contained within one report, compiled by the Rugby Players' Association, Johnson's coaching team was considered to be out of its depth.

The comments made tough reading for the World Cup winner, who agreed with a statement from Rob Andrew, the RFU's elite rugby director, which said that English rugby had hit "rock bottom".

But Johnson insisted the coverage had been selective.

He said: "Of course it is not great and to see those bits was one of the worst things I have experienced.

"It is incredibly sad, unnecessary and wrong. My frustration is that this is not an accurate reflection of that team or the attitude.

"Do not take extreme opinions, written in extreme circumstances, to be fact. They are opinions, they are certainly not truths.

"To pick out the most emotive and the worst comments is dangerous, very damaging and just not a true reflection of that group."