Monday Feb 20, 2017 Martin Johnson reflects on England win over Wales in Lions context

Martin Johnson reflects on England win over Wales in Lions context
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England legend and former Test coach Martin Johnson has reflected on the thrilling Wales vs England Six Nations clash from round two, singling out Owen Farell as a key man in Eddie Jones’ ambitions of claiming back to back titles.

If selected by Jones to play against Italy at Twickenham, Farrell will win his 50th England cap; he has also already amassed over 500 international points, appeared at a World Cup in 2015 and toured with the British & Irish Lions in 2013 in Australia.

Farrell was selected on a six-man shortlist for World Player of the Year in the summer and despite missing out on the top gong, he has become England’s Mr Reliable; both off the kicking tee and with his creativity behind the scrum.

He has been promoted to England’s vice-captaincy role and skippered the side during the last-gasp win against Wales in Cardiff following the withdrawal of skipper Dylan Hartley after just 46 minutes.

Farrell, who helped Saracens win the domestic and European double in 2016, has formed a formidable midfield pairing with Leicester-bound George Ford and is now the first name on England boss Jones’ team-sheet. 

Last week Johnson and legendary Ireland skipper Brian O’Driscoll described Farrell as an outside shot at captaining the Lions this summer in New Zealand, while World Cup winning boss Sir Clive Woodward thinks he’s the heir apparent to Hartley’s leadership crown for England.

“I think he can do either, fly-half or centre, that’s the great thing with him,” said the former England captain, who is running the rule over each of the home nations’ candidates for this summer’s Lions Tour to New Zealand.

“I just like his demeanour, I always have. He’s been through a World Cup, he’s been around for five or six years now with the England team, he’s very experienced.

“He took a hit from [Ross] Moriarty, that’s that type of game, but he took it, got up and got on with it, and then at the end of the game made the pass when he needed to, to put England in to win the game.”

It was Farrell’s combination with Ford that set up the try for Elliot Daly in Wales, expertly capitalising on Jonathan Davies’ failure to find touch with a kick.

And while the Welshman still made Johnson’s team of the week as well, it was Farrell that was the most talked about centre of the weekend, stealing 62 per cent of the conversation on Twitter to go with his four carries, 11 points, one clean break and one defender beaten.

Martin Johnson is an Ambassador for British & Irish Lions Principal Partner Standard Life Investments.

13 Comments

  •  rugbydump
    rugbydump

    If I was producing the video, yes! Via email

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    I wouldn't rate Russell that highly. What was that match recently where he ignored about 5 perfectly set up drop goal opportunities right in front of the posts, in the last five minutes of the game? I'd have been fuming if I'd been in his forward pack. That nonsense with the rushed kick against France. Also against France, I saw him throw some ridiculous speculative offloads which all turned to shit. (The one sublime offload to put Seymour through and create the try is the exception that proves the rule). All the above shows he doesn't have the temperament and game management that will be needed in NZ.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Fortunately I'm a ventriloquist in my spare time....

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    The headline of that article is completely misleading. If you strip out all of the SH games he compares very favourably. Another statistic is that he has won about 1/3 of the six nations he has coached, which is pretty good. You're definitely right that it won't work if he tries warren ball vs the kiwis. If he tries it he is an idiot, butbiis record suggests he isn't so have to give him the benefit of the doubt until the squad is picked. Let's hope the exciting players playing proper creative and smart rugby continue to impress in this six nations. If he gets it right, the Lions should only be underdogs because they are playing away, which makes it very exciting. A lot is said that the quality of The kiwis shows in the last 20 mins but there is a reasonable chance the lions bench may contain players like Mako or SOB. I'm sure others people will have different preferences but Garland has the chance to pick 23 players who could be man of the match in any international. EJ has done a fantastic job for England. The played available to him were pretty much all available to Lancaster. He just knows how to get the best out of them it seems

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    ...I have so much more important things to be doing right now... but it's not as interesting as rugby fact chasing haha... I've looked into it. I found an article: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/warren-gatland-stand-pantheon-wales-6715268 I am with you in the sense that he's not the worst coach out there, but I don't think his success is quite as glorious as one might think.. I agree with you regarding Jamie Roberts, it's just my view of route 1 being the only option Wales has had for nearly the last decade is a little less favourable. PLUS, I don't like how Gatland takes that into the Lions games, I personally don't think it'll work if he tries it against the kiwis... then again, maybe nothing will work. I'm not an England fan (nor a Wales fan), however I have a lot of time for Eddie Jones and manner in which he appears to coach. I genuinely think that is the winning ethos that is used with the big teams down south, when it's not used, they don't perform. It's also the sort of mind set that scares players into working for their jersey each game. I enjoy good rugby and right now the kiwis are top dogs, which makes the Lions the underdogs - imo, the Lions are always the underdogs, so I always want to see them perform well, or at least create a contest, so with that in mind, I hope you're the one that is right about WG.

    Reply
  •  10stonenumber10
    10stonenumber10

    Would you have the guts to tell him to fold it down?

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    He has been coach for 10 years. I would say 3 6 nations titles, 2 of which were grand slams is a fairly impressive return, regardless of what team you are coaching. True that the last few years hasn't been great though. Although I think the stick he gets for Warrenball is a bit harsh. Given that he has Jamie Roberts as the perfect 12 for playing a power game he would have been silly to try a different route. As Roberts has tailed off so has the effectiveness of Warrenball. Gopperth can't play as he has played for Junior All Blacks, but only mentioned him as that is the standard I think Biggar is and Myler for the same reason. Myler doesn't get a look in for England as it is evident he isn't quite good enough and never will be, particularly when players like Lowoski are coming though. Biggar is just lucky he is Welsh and the alternatives are not really up to much.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    "He did the best he could do with Wales and and has been very successful." Really? Just a quick glance at wikipedia shows that in 2016 Wales played 14 games, they lost 7 and drew 1....so they didn't win 8 games... so that's a win% of 43%. The year prior they did much better, losing something like 4 out of 12, but the year before that they again did abysmally and lost something like 50% of their matches... Might want to double check the exact figures, I may have miscounted somewhere along, but it's basically a pretty poor ratio in the last few years - I didn't go back any further than that. Then couple that with the fact he's killed any sort of Welsh rugby imagination, Gatlandball Gatlandball Gatlandball.... As for your suggestions on players, I'd agree Biggar is not good enough, as a replacement, Finn Russell possibly, Paddy Jackson, George Ford are all look ins, not sure picking Gopperth is allowed... (probably is theoretically) but on principal.. Given how Sexton is starting for Ireland this coming weekend (not Gatlands decision I know), I can't help but feel like WGis going to need more than a pencil to remove "Sexton" from his list if the guy gets injured.....

    Reply
  •  rugbydump
    rugbydump

    Collar up too. A bit Eric Cantona-esque

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    Gatland may not be the most popular choice as head coach, but perhaps this Lions tour will give him the opportunity to win over a few people. He did the best he could do with Wales and and has been very successful. And he is also already a successful Lions coach. The difference with this tour is that he now has a much richer pool of players to choose from than he has ever had with Wales or on the last Lions tour. So this is a chance for him to show that he has the ability to get the best of what is available to him. Lets hope he realises thought that Biggar is not good enough. Given that Farrell will (should) be kicking, then he can pick a 10 (unless Farrell is 10) that isn't a great kicker. Therefore Finn Russell is miles ahead and Paddy Jackson could be as well. I reckon Jimmy Gopperth and Stephen Myler are probably on a level with Biggar anyway.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Probably wouldn't be as bad if the producers had actually provided a shirt that was the right size for him!!

    Reply
  •  45678
    45678

    I know he's at the mercy of the sponsors, but there's something a little cringeworthy about an ageing lions legend in a replica shirt

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I'm very interested to see how this six nations goes and it's correlation or potential lack of, to the Lions tour. I'll put in the usual "some may disagree", comment, but I'm not even sure that even the Welsh fans would disagree that Wales on a whole has been pretty poor. What concerns me is how close a game it actually was, even though Wales have been playing pretty poorly. I don't know whether the Welsh are individual talents who can't gel as a team (due to tactics perhaps?) Or whether they are not that great as individual but gelled well, therefore used their strengths against England? Or a mix of both? In my opinion I think there is a mix of players that deserve to be there and players than don't, couple that with tactics and it's a recipe for disaster, even before you have taken into account bounce of the ball luck etc... I don't know who WG is going to pick, but I don't think we'll all be thrilled with every choice. I think Eddie Jones currently has the best formula for picking players - pull your weight or you're out... I think Gatland will pick players based on their aura of past successes, I can see Sexton being included (good player but off for ages), Bigger will definitely get a look in, and he's a petulant prat... Ahhh exciting times...

    Reply

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Martin Johnson reflects on England win over Wales in Lions context | RugbyDump