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English Premiership
Johnson dismisses coaching criticism
Scrum.com
March 25, 2010
England manager Martin Johnson casts an eye over training, England training session, Pennyhill Park, Bagshot, Surrey, England, March 12, 2010
England manager Martin Johnson has dismissed criticism of his coaching staff © Getty Images
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England manager Martin Johnson has reiterated that there will be no changes to England's coaching staff following another disappointing Six Nations campaign.

The RFU has dismissed speculation that there would be an overhaul prior to the 2011 Rugby World Cup and Johnson has confirmed his stance. Criticism of John Wells, Brian Smith and Mike Ford has intensified in recent weeks, with leading former internationals including Lawrence Dallaglio and Matt Dawson calling for changes.

"I don't anticipate making any changes. I thought the coaches did an outstanding job this season, particularly in the autumn," Johnson said. "It's not the ex-players having a go at the coaching staff, it's just criticising has become the thing to do in English rugby.

"Mistakes happen on the field - perhaps coaches get some things wrong. But a lot of the time it's a player's error which is also a factor. I judge the coaches every day. I get judged by them every day."

Johnson robustly defended the credentials of forwards coach Wells and also bristled at the perceived lack of knowledge among critics of the team.

"People ask 'what are John Wells' credentials?' The guy has coached the most successful domestic team in English club history [Leicester], winning four championships on the trot and two Heineken Cups. Then he coached England to a World Cup final.

"Who's got better credentials than that? That's my mindset. Everyday he does a fantastic job. You see the criticism thrown in by people and you think, what the hell do you know about it? You may have heard something second hand, but what's your knowledge based on?

"I think the coaches have done a fantastic job in the face of criticism that is ill-informed a lot of the time in my opinion. We're in a results-driven business. The players know that. If they don't play very well they'll be out. If I don't do a very good job I won't be here very long, I understand that. It's the way it should be."

The RFU's elite rugby director, Rob Andrew, has also come in for heavy criticism but is happy with his performance in the role.

"I'm not going anywhere before the World Cup. Lawrence is entitled to his views," he said. "My role is reviewed by the management board. I review what happens in the whole of the department and with Martin and the senior coaches.

"I'm comfortable with the job I'm doing, the department as it is and what we've achieved over the last three years. I'm very comfortable. The strategic plan is over eight years. It's a wide-ranging plan and we are not where we'd like to be in terms of winning the Six Nations. We have to look at why that's happened and how we move forward. This criticism that is now in the game is just the modern way. You just have to get on with it."

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