Johnson plans to rotate squad
May 18, 2010
England boss Martin Johnson plans to give all of his players game time this summer © Getty Images
England team manager Martin Johnson has revealed that he intends to make full use of his 44-strong squad for this summer's tour of Australia and New Zealand.
With England set to play six times in a four-week spell, Johnson is hoping that he will be able to grant every single member of his touring party at least one start.
"That would be the intention," he told Sky Sports News. "But guys can also have an impact coming off the bench. It's important as you can play a significant role coming off the bench. In our last game in France (in the Six Nations), David Wilson and Steve Thompson came on and played 40 minutes and had a big effect.
"Whatever your role - whether you are starting, on the bench, or not on the bench - you have to support the guys in training and do what's asked of you at that moment."
England will play a game against the Barbarians before they depart for the Australian leg of their tour and Johnson is overjoyed that, with the exception of Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson and those who will be involved in Sunday week's Guinness Premiership final between Saracens and Leicester, he is in a position to assemble the vast majority of his squad together this week.
"This is a good chance to get some work in ahead of that Barbarians game and there is a lot of information for the guys to take in so it's nice to be able to do that work without the pressure of a game at the end of the week," he said. "It's going to be beneficial for them.
"This is a great opportunity for some guys for whom it is the first time they've been in the squad. Some guys who have won a few caps but not been in the squad for a while, maybe someone like Olly Barkley, and some of the older guys as well."
Johnson also believes that the trip 'Down Under' provides him with an excellent opportunity to establish which players will be suited to the rigours of World Cup rugby.
"Even in the Six Nations when we are away, we travel two or three days before the game," he said. "When you are in a World Cup you are away for three or four weeks, hopefully longer, and you have to be able to handle the routine of it. We will see how these guys handle it. In Australia and New Zealand there is always a lot of media attention and pressure on your shoulders."
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park
The latest Week in Pictures takes in photographs from the Rugby Championship, the Top 14 and the southern hemisphere domestic scene
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