Sport Rugby

Saturday 25 November 2017

I won’t be surprised if Martin Johnson quits – former boss

FORMER England chief Geoff Cooke will not be surprised if Martin Johnson decides to call it a day as England manager.

Johnson's future remains unclear in the wake of England's failed World Cup campaign when poor performances on the pitch were accompanied by off-field controversies.

Cooke, who led England to two Five Nations grand slams during his seven years as England manager, wonders if Johnson will want to carry on after widespread criticism of the behaviour of England players in New Zealand.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he decided he didn't want any more of it," Cooke told the Yorkshire Post. "He's got to ask himself does he need the flak that he's been getting."

If Johnson instead opts to carry on Cooke believes the Rugby Football Union will need to insist that he instigates a shake-up of his backroom team.

"I wouldn't be unhappy if they decided to stick with Martin Johnson; after all, he's got the experience now. But he certainly needs a different team of coaches with him.

"The key decision is still Martin Johnson. Everything depends on that, whether they decide to keep him on, let him go or he decides to go himself."

Cooke also feels the decision of Shaun Edwards to commit himself to Wales was a missed opportunity for the Rugby Football Union.

Edwards announced yesterday he had signed a new deal as Wales defence coach, which he will combine with a new role at an Aviva Premiership club after leaving Wasps.

"It is very unfortunate that Shaun Edwards wasn't prepared to hang around. Whether something has gone on behind the scenes that we're not privy to we'll never know.

"It's a pity, because Edwards seemed to be the type of character we could have done with."

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