Ruck and Maul: Knight makes move against Johnno, but is he just talking a good game?

Whatever befalls England this autumn, Martin Johnson can never be described as a pawn in the game. Sir Clive Woodward, for whom diplomacy has always been a stranger, has questioned England's decision to appoint Johnson as coach while he is still wet behind the cauliflower ears. "You have to be a warrior but you also have to play chess," the knight said. He identified Johnson as a Samurai-like figure but doubted if he had the tactical nous to be a grandmaster. "We'd all be more confident if he had spent a few years coaching Leicester. I see no one at Twickenham who can help him, who can question what he's doing. He's on his own." Rob Andrew, who beat Sir Clive to the job as director of elite rugby, would disagree, but they do on most things. Woodward, who led England to the 2003 World Cup with Johnson as his captain, got his knighthood for services to rugby before walking out of Twickenham. When he took the Lions toNew Zealand in 2005 it was checkmate to the All Blacks.

RFU's World Cup cash cow

Were the RFU being economical with the truth? Last week we reported that England were thinking of withdrawing their bid to stage the 2015 World Cup because the £100m tender bid would scupper chances of turning a profit. Yet a report commissioned by the IRB says the "direct and indirect economic impact could be worth £2.1bn to the hosts".

Kiwis turn Globetrotters

That sum would be manna from heaven for New Zealand, who host the 2011 World Cup but in the meantime are so strapped for cash they have turned themselves into a version of the Harlem Globetrotters. There was the Test against Australia in Hong Kong last week and, the All Blacks are eyeing up venues in Denver, Boston, Dubai and Japan.

Hunt for Red Dragons

Wales entertained 70 of their former internationals at the Millennium Stadium last Thursday. It was a unique gathering, but the attendance should have been higher. The WRU have a major problem – they have no idea of the whereabouts of another 50 players who wore the red jersey. Still, Bleddyn Williams was there. He is sick and tired of being reminded that he was the last captain of his country to beat the All Blacks. It was in 1953. Williams can't wait to shake the hand of a successor, preferably in this century.

Going bananas lacks appeal

What is it about hookers and gouging? Marius Tincu, Perpignan's Romanian hooker, has been banned for 18 weeks for gouging Paul James of the Ospreys. The French club went bananas: "It was a scandalous judgement, worthy of a banana boat republic." Judge Jeff Blackett, who wore the black cap, knows about boats, having spent 31 years in the Royal Navy. He's also usually adept at avoiding banana skins.

t.glover@independent.co.uk

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence