Johnson's selections criticised
November 23, 2011
Ben Youngs was injured going into the World Cup © Getty Images
The England coaches have come under heavy criticism for their selection policy during the World Cup.
In the three World Cup post-mortem reports - one by Rugby Football Union elite director Rob Andrew, the Rugby Players' Association and the Premiership clubs - leaked to The Times, Martin Johnson and the coaches come under fire from the players. Coaching ability aside, one focus of their frustration was Johnson's selection policy during the tournament.
Lewis Moody's role as skipper is one area of criticism levied at the coaches with one player stating: "They selected [Lewis] Moody ahead of [Tom] Wood despite Moodos being half-fit and Woody playing awesomely in training and in the Six Nations."
Johnson's selection of Moody as captain was also called into question with one player saying: "We didn't really have a good captain. I think Johno liked [Lewis] Moody as he left the team talks to Johno. He wasn't very good at team talks, just *****d a lot."
And another player states his confusion at why Moody was selected with him instead favouring Chris Robshaw of Harlequins. "[Chris] Robshaw and [Tom] Wood proved themselves to be the fittest, the strongest and played out of their skin in training, but then they were overlooked for senior players and we reverted to type."
Another area of England's selection policy during the World Cup focuses on Jonny Wilkinson. The World Cup winning fly-half laboured from the tee with one player stating in the leaked reports that "Jonny Wilkinson is not an attacking threat any more. We really needed [Toby] Flood because he is the one who bosses the team. Floody was part of the reason England played well in the Six Nations."
England entered the World Cup campaign with injury concerns surrounding not only Moody, but also the likes of Ben Youngs and Andrew Sheridan, and one player bluntly put: "Ben Youngs was rushed back from knee injury and wasn't fit enough." Another continues: "It was amazing how some players who couldn't play due to an injury were doing backflips into the swimming pool and playing golf."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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