Wilkinson poised to join Johnson’s England coaching dream team


Reports emanating from Newcastle this morning have suggested that Jonny Wilkinson is poised to join Martin Johnson’s coaching team if the World Cup winning captain chooses to accept the management of the England team. In an extraordinary development, it is thought that Wilkinson will be installed as kicking coach and as a consultant on back play, including attack and defence. While there will be another full time backs coach who will concentrate more on the skills side, Wilkinson is likely to have significant input into the tactics and approach of the team.

Wilkinson has only been out of the England starting line-up for one game and is certainly not retiring, but this is evidence that he is already thinking about the next stage of his career in rugby. With the emergence of a string of young rivals led by Danny Cipriani, but also including Ryan Lamb, Shane Geraghty, Toby Flood and Charlie Hodgson, perhaps Wilkinson has reconciled himself to the fact that his days at the top are numbered. This would be an extraordinary admission for a man as dedicated and ambitious as Wilkinson but after Cipriani’s performance against Ireland, perhaps he thinks it is time to carve out a new niche for himself.

This news is further evidence of the fact that Johnson appears likely to agree to manage England and that he will have full power to hire and fire as he sees fit. It appears that he wishes to surround himself with trusted lieutenants whom he knows and trusts. Wilkinson will still be available to play but this news also casts further doubt over the future of Brian Ashton. Were Johnson to take over, then the only way Ashton could really be retained is as backs coach. The introduction of Wilkinson, even in a consultative role, may be the thing which leads Ashton to decide that there is no future for him in the set up. It would undermine him even more than he has been already.

Still, the prospect of Johnno and Jonny pooling their vast array of knowledge is an enticing one. What price a role for Neil Back as defence coach to create a World Cup winning coaching triumvirate? If they cannot create a winning mentality then we are beyond redemption.

5 thoughts on “Wilkinson poised to join Johnson’s England coaching dream team

  1. Damn the RFU – it’s nigh impossible to think up a good April Fool’s day ruse that isn’t as ridiculous as the current set-up!

    Johnno and Jonny, bring it on I say!

  2. Damn the RFU – it’s nigh impossible to think up a good April Fool’s day ruse that isn’t less ridiculous than the current set-up!

    Johnno and Jonny, bring it on I say!

  3. The thing is, because it has to do with the RFU, anything’s possible at all.

    It basically smacks of desperation, which is something i can readily believe with this bunch of jokers.

    Run this same story next year, after some more injuries to Jonny and some more poor perforances by the boys, and it probably will be true!

  4. Echoes of Keegan to Newcastle. Neither Johnno or Johnny have any coaching credentials. But they have fan popularity, which seems to be the focus. That is totally wrong.
    On a personal note, part of my resistance is that if they take it on and screw it up, the image of two of my biggest heroes in life (let alone sport) will be tarnished.
    Keegan will be available in about 2 months…. and at least he is attack-minded?!

  5. I would love it if we won the 2011 World Cup just love it! Johnno might not have the best credentials (well, none as a coach) and may not be the best candidate for the job (not that I can see the RFU having the boldness to employ Jake White) but his credentials aren’t much less than Andrew’s or Ashton’s.

    As a Head Coach, Ashton has only ever won anything with “shamateur-era” Bath and their wealthy backers. Then you’ve got his boss who had a title bought for him by Sir John Hall before overseeing many years of mediocrity and milking his discovery and nurturing of Jonny for all it’s worth as evidence of his great stewardship.

    So really, the difference between a Johnno/Jonny combo(which I know is only a fictional April Fool’s prank but humour me please!) and the current Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dumber set-up is not that great.

    And when you look at Johnno’s personality as compared with Rob Andrew he’s far more likely to bring us success. He’s a natural leader, no bullshit and no excuses, and he’s decisive, as opposed to Rob Andrew who watches our 6N campaign and has to go away for a few weeks and write a report before he can decide what he thought of it.

    I can’t name names, but a senior source within the RFU has told me that Andrew’s already working on his report of the 2009 6 Nations. He met with Baron this week to ask him what he wanted the conclusion to be!

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