England Rugby
Smith: England need Martin Johnson
ESPN Staff
March 9, 2015
England manager Martin Johnson and assistants Mike Ford and Brian Smith, England open training session, Twickenham, England, May 18, 2010
Brian Smith alongside Martin Johnson in 2011 © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Martin Johnson | Brian Smith
Teams: England

England should still have Martin Johnson involved in the national team's backroom staff, according to Brian Smith.

Smith, who was England attack coach for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, is currently doing some consultancy work for the Wallabies after leaving London Irish earlier this season. And Smith feels England are worse off without Johnson, who left his post as team manager in the wake of their infamous campaign in the 2011 global gathering.

"He was such a capable person, a good man with such integrity and high standards," Smith told The Rugby Paper. "He could have saved himself by cutting a couple of us coaches after the last World Cup, but he wouldn't do it because he didn't believe in it.

"He couldn't just turn a blind eye to something he felt wasn't right, so he left himself. We've had to live with the actions of a few young men who went a bit silly and the consequences of a poor 20 minutes against France, but we were also mindful that coaches like Clive Woodward and Graham Henry were given a second crack.

"If you put Johnno in charge of the current coaches, he's the sort of bloke who can provide the level of leadership England need. He climbed the mountain as a player and, after the experience he gained managing at a first World Cup, it's crazy he's not still involved."

England are two from three in the Six Nations and host Scotland this weekend. Smith feels the next World Cup will come too soon for this group of players and says Lancaster's honeymoon period as England coach is over.

"Stuart Lancaster's got a good coaching crew - Rowntree is clearly a world-class forwards coach, Farrell is the general and Catt's a brilliant bloke who's been there and done it - but for me there's been a lot of rhetoric," Smith added. "They've missed one of their targets to be second in the world going into the World Cup and questions will now be asked of Stuart.

"Stuart's very conscious of managing the media message, but coaching is a results business and he's been at the helm for some time now. On the big occasions, the big moments, England are being squeezed out and the honeymoon is over."

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