Nick Mallet right man for England, says Thompson

 

Steve Thompson today backed Nick Mallett and Wayne Smith as the
"outstanding" management team to pick up the pieces of England's World
Cup campaign and guide them to glory in 2015.

Thompson, the England and Wasps hooker, defended former boss Martin Johnson and insisted the players had to take responsibility for their World Cup failings in New Zealand.

The 33-year-old also laid into a so-called culture of expectation that led to claims some of England's World Cup players were more focused on money than rugby.

Mallett, the former South Africa, Stade Francais and Italy coach is the leading candidate to replace Johnson in charge of England.

And Smith, the former Northampton boss, is regarded as one of the best rugby brains in the game, having helped New Zealand win the 2011 World Cup.

Thompson told Press Association Sport: "I have had a few conversations with him (Mallett) in the past. I have been very impressed with him.

"When he was in France he spoke fluent French, he bought into the culture and led Stade Francais to the title.

"In Italy, he spoke fluent Italian. He went in there, found out their culture, bought into their mentality and still brought his own.

"He has coached all around the world. We want coaches with worldwide experience. Look at Wayne Smith for New Zealand. He has exactly that. He went back there after all his experience with Northampton."

Asked if Mallett and Smith would be his management dream-team, Thompson said: "That would be outstanding".

But the 2003 World Cup-winner believes it is important for the new England set-up to include a home-grown coach such as Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder.

"I am a true Englishman and I look at Fabio Capello with the football team and I am not sure," Thompson said.

"If you can, perhaps you could have (English coaches) as part of the management and then you can bring them through.

"We have a young coach like Mallinder who could do it. Mike Catt as a backs coach. For me it is exciting.

"We have a World Cup in England in four years' time. I really do believe we can win that.

"I know we didn't have a good World Cup but they are Six Nations champions with so much talent coming through.

"People have made mistakes but they won't do it again, we will move forward."

PA

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