What goes on in Johnno’s selection meeting?

We haven’t been invited to Martin Johnson’s selection meeting (yet), but we’ve been wondering what they talk about, based on the conclusions they clearly come to. Does it go like this do you think?

MJ: So, let’s start with the forwards. Wellsy, how do you think the pack did against Australia?

John Wells: Brilliant! A great effort by the whole eight, I’d say. They did everything I asked of them and in the case of Lewis Moody, much more. The set piece was solid all afternoon and we had more possession than the opposition, so all in all, a good day I’d say. It was Smithy’s lot that couldn’t do anything with it.

MJ: Yeah, Smithy. What the hell was going on in attack?

Brian Smith: Well, credit where credit is due. It was an outstanding Australia side, they are one of the best teams in the world, they’ve been together throughout the Tri-Nations and we only lost by 9 points.

MJ: Look, we aren’t in a press conference now. Tell it how it is.

BS: Well the lads were disappointed not to score a try, but there was definite improvement. One of the little chip-and-chase moves we called came off when Jonny caught it, but we didn’t get the rub of the green with the other ones unfortunately.

MJ: International rugby is not about relying on the rub of the green. What are we going to do about it?

BS: Well, Jonny was brilliant, so it’s great that he’s still fit. Danny was strong and direct, just what we like, Banners was a rock on the wing, and Cueto was his usual self. Ugo had a long afternoon at full-back, but he’s learning. Geraghty let me down a bit, but mentioned something about a lack of quick ball – does anyone know what he’s talking about by the way?

Mike Ford: Oh yeah, that’s what we always talk about in my defensive sessions. Stopping the opposition getting quick ball is the key, even if it means giving away the odd penalty, if you know what I mean. And we did that for most of the match without getting sin-binned, so I was happy. There were a couple of weak tackles, but I’ve slammed Ugo into the wall and he said he wouldn’t do it again.

MJ: Hang on, if we are concentrating on stopping quick ball for the opposition, is this something we should be looking for ourselves?

BS: It might help actually. We executed the gameplan perfectly, but giving it to Jonny doesn’t always work when the defence has had time to line up in front of him.

JW: OK, I think I know where this is going. You want quick ball eh? My boys secure the ball, and then you want it out. You might want to change Care then, because it must be his fault that the ball isn’t getting to Jonny quickly enough.

MJ: OK, we’ll start Hodgson next week. We need to wrap this up then fellas. Are there any injuries to worry about?

JW: Yes, Dave Wilson has a shoulder injury and is a doubt, so I’ve called up Paul Doran-Jones.

MJ, MF, BS: Who?

JW: Plays for Gloucester, apparently. So my starting pack will be unchanged, unless Wilson is ruled out.

MJ: Are you happy with Deacon and Borthwick?

JW: Who wouldn’t be?

BS: OK, I’ll start with Hodgson and then the rest of the back line will be unchanged.

MJ: Great! Consistency of selection in important. Well done lads, let’s go and have a pint and talk about this quick ball thing.

13 thoughts on “What goes on in Johnno’s selection meeting?

  1. Haha, very good!

    This is the team I think they’ll select:

    1. Payne
    2. Thompson
    3. Wilson (if fit, Bell if not)
    4. Lawes
    5. Borthwick
    6. Croft
    7. Moody
    8. Haskell
    9. Hodgson
    10. Wilkinson
    11. Banahan
    12. Geraghty
    13. Hipkiss
    14. Monye
    15. Cueto

    No huge changes, but they have to realise that we need a bit a dynamism in the pack. Can’t see foden coming in just yet unfortunately so ive got a feeling theyll just swap it around in the back three.

  2. Very good! Dare you to raise the question in the next press conference “So Martin, what exactly do you discuss in the selection meetings?”

    Paul Doran-Jones, who? Playing Div 1 rugby last year at London Welsh apparently. Does he even start for Gloucester?

  3. MJ – So boys, why did we lose all shape and focus in the second half?

    JW – Well its not the packs fault. We were brilliant

    MJ – Now now John, there’s no I in team

    JW – I’m just saying my guys were great. Think you should blame Smithy

    MF – I agree. It was Smithys fault

  4. hahaha!

    It has to be similar, because there is no way an international coahc should be happy with what’s going on on the pitch.

  5. MJ, MF + JW (to Rob Andrew): We’ve discussed it between us and we think the solution to beating Argentina is to sack Brian Smith but give us 5-year deals.

  6. Is anyone else exasperated by the comments coming out of the England camp? In the post-match interviews, all you could hear was ‘we should take the positives out of the match’, ‘it’s a learning curve’, ‘we’re at the start of the season’ etc. I’ve just read Geraghty saying there was a passage of play in the 2nd half where ‘we really had them on the ropes’ for godsake, ‘then we knocked it on’. Did anyone else see anything other than the Aussies marhshalling England from side to side along the gain line? Does anyone else think that, even if Geraghty was right, we should be focusing on 1 passage of play being a positive from the match?!

    I far prefer the commentary from the England camp to the Robinson / Ashton days, but still, some reality needs to be installed and the experienced players need to stand up and say ‘that was crap, an England team should be looking for a win at twickenham and expect nothing less’.

  7. Completely agree Justin. Surely a performance like that would have had Johnno, the player, telling it how it was post-match?

    The really worrying thing would be if, behind closed doors, they repeat the same crap they’re spouting to the press. If they truly believe that performance wasn’t far short of where they want to be then that’s a huge cause for concern.

  8. Also agree Justin. I find it hard to hear Martin Johnson spilling out excuses that we aren’t far from where we want to be when, whilst he was captain, any loss at Twickenham would have been considered a huge disappointment. England seem to have been a ‘work in progress’ ever since Jonny dropped us to the World Cup. We need to start seeing signs of improvement and direction very soon.

    I think Hodgson has to come in, he is a classic scrum-half, and although he doesn’t pose the running threat of danny care, he will provide our backs with the quick ball which they desperately need.

  9. Bang on Justin. Unfortunately, what this tells us is that they have no clue what to do here. When there are fundamental issues like this, radical actions are required. What’s the team talk going to be:

    MJ: Concentrate more, do the basics well, and try to settle in
    Players: Oh, OK, why didn’t you say that before

  10. The is much deeper than just this group of coaches, granted they suck ass somehting awful.

    We have a mentality of rugby here in England that states if you win the setplays then the match will come your way eventually, We start as children with this way of thinking. So when we are under pressure we revert back to it.

    We need a coach that really emphasises the creative side of the game, ever since Jack Rowell we have been talking about getting expansive and we never have, not even Johnno’s team won the world cup on the back of great back play although they did have great backs.

    Even attack minded coaches like Ashton seem to revert to the bang boom bash crap, as he did in the world cup. We need a coach with a different instinct, i.e not English, or a coach with the confidence to do it his own way when the presure is on, there aren’t many of those about.

  11. RonBraz, it sounds like you are talking about Jake White? I can’t see Johnno getting the sack until after RWC11, but maybe someone like Jake White is what we need.

    Or how about SCW?

  12. I think you are doing the coaches a credit. I think the conversation went something along the lines of…

    JW & MF: Martin, Smithy – shut it. That was brilliant. End of story. Fact. Before we know it everyone will cotton on to the fact that Rugby was much much better in the early 80’s and it will come back into vogue – we will be seen as trendsetters. Much like fashion. Anyway, Lets go to the pub…

  13. All of which boils down to the fact that English rugby is like a fart in a colander, as it was pre Beaumont. Nobody in charge (or any other bugger for that matter) knows which hole to come through. Except everyone on this blog, of course,
    Roll on the 6 Nations at least we’ll be playing in our own class, JUST ABOUT!!

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