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

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent