An­drew’s book high­lights the loss of John­son

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Football -

Rob An­drew’s book is a lot live­lier than we had any right to ex­pect from a man­darin who was al­ways cir­cum­spect and po­lit­i­cal in his Rugby Foot­ball Union roles.

The crit­i­cism of Stu­art Lan­caster for be­ing ob­sessed with con­duct in the run-up to the 2015 World Cup chimes with what many of us felt at the time. The need to win in a home World Cup had be­come sub­li­mated some­what by the quest to cre­ate solid cit­i­zens who un­der­stood the hon­our of play­ing for Eng­land.

But An­drew’s por­trayal of the 2011 World Cup cam­paign as the tour of shame tells you why Lan­caster acted as he did. He felt Eng­land had be­come a ve­hi­cle for per­sonal ad­vance­ment. A vain gen­er­a­tion were un­der­min­ing na­tional ser­vice. Ed­die Jones has con­tin­ued that war by other means. So there is a dis­con­nect in An­drew’s de­pic­tion of 2011 and his cri­tique of Lan­caster in 2015.

The most poignant as­pect is that the be­trayal of Martin John­son by some mem­bers of the 2011 Eng­land squad ended up driv­ing him away from front-line coach­ing and man­age­ment. That re­mains a sad loss.

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