We spoke to everyone’s favourite irritant Austin Healey this week for his views on England, life in camp and potential Rugby World Cup squad selections.
Healey puts England’s upturn in form down to the environment that Johnno has created, and it sounds like some of Sir Clive’s principles of team-building have rubbed off on the current England manager.
“Martin Johnson has created a great atmosphere down there. You can see how much the guys are enjoying it – they have a bit of banter, and they take it off each other.”
“Johnno is a big one for bringing in the right characters. If you are working alongside someone and they’re a bit of a div, it brings the whole side down, doesn’t it?”
Given that some people think that England’s Grand Slam is already in the bag, we discussed the forthcoming World Cup. “The key for England is to keep a settled side. There’s no reason, injury-permitting, that the starting team at the moment will not be the starting team at the World Cup. They will certainly all be in the squad.”
I asked who else he had his eye on for that squad, and he named two players. “Manu Tuilagi they have to take. He’s proven that he has pace and power, and the X-Factor that not many people have. He could change the game if he comes on.”
“The other one is Matt Stevens. He’s played himself back into contention, and what he did to Martin Castrogiovanni when Sarries played Leicester was unbelievable. Very impressive.”
To get the inside scoop on the squad, as well as fun features, match analysis and up to the minute player interviews with presenters Austin Healey and Abi Griffiths, sign up for alerts and watch O2 Inside Line on RFU TV at O2InsideLine.com
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