Henry: England should keep faith with Johnson
October 25, 2011
Martin Johnson endured a poor Rugby World Cup with England © Getty Images
Johnson is under severe pressure after England were eliminated from the Rugby World Cup by Fracne at the quarter-final stage. Along with a series of disappointing performances on the pitch, England's campaign was marred by a series of off-field controversies. And there a doubts whether Johnson, who is currently contemplating his own future, will be offered a new contract beyond his current deal that expires in December.
Henry suffered a similar chastening experience in his first World Cup in charge of the All Blacks when they lost to France in the quarter finals four years ago. But the New Zealand Rugby Union preserved with the head coach and were rewarded when Henry led them to victory in the Rugby World Cup Final over France on Sunday.
When asked about Johnson's position, Henry told the New Zealand Herald: "He's a top man. I was very impressed with him when he was captain of the 2001 Lions [coached by Henry]. Continuity is important. You learn a lot from those situations and if you put new people in there they have to learn the whole thing all over again.
"So if Martin Johnson is seen as the man to take England forward, I wouldn't think you would want to deny him a second chance."
Henry, who is grateful for the faith shown in him following the All Blacks' 2007 World Cup exit, highlighted Sir Alex Ferguson's prolonged success with Manchester United as another example of how experience and continuity can be the cornerstones of success at the highest level.
"Sometimes it pays to keep the faith," he said. "Look at someone like Sir Alex Ferguson - he has done pretty well, hasn't he? But there are a lot more who have been given the bullet early, only for the people who shoot them to realise maybe there isn't a quick fix waiting around the next corner.
"It would have been the easiest thing in the world for the New Zealand Rugby Union to have shown me the door after we went out in the quarter-finals in 2007. But they gave me another opportunity, and I like to think their faith and trust have been repaid. Maybe there's a lesson to be learned there.'
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament