Sack Robbo, says Johnson

Former England captain Martin Johnson believes that the future of English rugby is under threat as long as Andy Robinson is coach.

Johnson spoke out against the retention of Robinson, and believes he should be sacked regardless of the narrow 23-21 win over the Springboks at Twickenham on Saturday.

“Would it be a knee-jerk reaction to sack Robbo? Let’s be honest we’re not talking two defeats here, we’re talking seven,” he told Ian Stafford of The Mail on Sunday.

“So if you ask me if replacing the head coach at this stage – with 10 months to go before the World Cup – will make a difference, my honest answer is ‘yes’.”

Although England showed a great amount of courage to fight back, the Springboks always looked the better side, and both the visiting coach and captain admitted to throwing the game away rather than England winning it.

Johnson agreed that the victory should not mask England’s shortcomings.

“There are many reasons England are in the mess they’re in, but the buck has to stop with the head coach. He had made some very poor selections and decisions before and during games. Ultimately it’s his responsibility.”

Recognised as a great leader who played a huge part in England’s 2003 World Cup success, Johnson stated that more of the players need to take some responsibility as well, as current skipper Martin Corry is operating as a man alone when it comes to leadership.

“I had five or six guys in the team who had all captained England and others capable of doing so,” he said. “Correct decisions were made all over the pitch.

“Corry does not have a core of leaders around him. It’s all on his shoulders because other players have not taken responsibility.

“The guys now wearing the England shirt are all proven players and they no doubt think they’re some of the best. Well, you’re only as good as your last game and, on the evidence of their last game, they are not good players.”

Johnson was so despondent about the state of the national squad, he gave a bleak prediction for France next year if nothing is done to curb the degeneration.

“Can we win the World Cup? Well, England have South Africa, Samoa and the United States in their group, then either Australia or Wales in the quarter-final. Normally, they should win the group and be favourites to win the quarter-final. Right now, would you back them to do all that? No.

“Nobody can deny we’ve got a major problem,” he added. “We’ve got to fix it. And we’ve got to fix it right now.”