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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 November 2006, 13:25 GMT
Johnson calls for Robinson exit
England coach Andy Robinson looks on against South Africa with his hands together
Robinson is still under pressure despite Saturday's win
World Cup-winning captain Martin Johnson believes England should replace Andy Robinson as head coach.

"I hate saying this because he and I went through a lot together," Johnson, whose pack was coached by Robinson in 2003, told the Mail on Sunday.

"But I've seen players pulled off the field for making one mistake.

"So if you ask me if replacing the head coach at this stage, with 10 months to go before the World Cup, will make a difference, my honest answer is 'yes'."

Johnson, speaking before Saturday's victory over South Africa ended England's depressing run of seven defeats, has been reluctant to enter the debate over Robinson's position.


But he believes the man who succeeded Sir Clive Woodward has to take responsibility for England's fall to seventh place in the world rankings.

"There are many reasons England are in the mess they're in but the buck has to stop with the head coach," Johnson added.

"He had made some very poor selections and decisions before and during games. Ultimately it's his responsibility.

They didn't take Jonny Wilkinson off at half-time during the World Cup quarter-final against Wales did they?

Martin Johnson
"I know it hasn't been him dropping the ball or failing to see the gaps or the overlaps. But he has created the environment for these basic errors to happen."

Johnson cited Robinson's removal of captain Martin Corry against Scotland in last season's Six Nations - the match that started England's run of defeats - and that of Charlie Hodgson against Argentina as evidence of poor decisions.

"You never do that," said Johnson of the Corry decision. "It opened up a huge can of worms and it was entirely the coach's making.

"I thought at the time: 'No, come on!' He has either made Martin captain or he hasn't. The game is won in the last 20 minutes, in any case.

"'It was like taking Charlie off with 25 to go against Argentina. He wasn't playing well but he was deemed good enough an hour before. He could have turned it round because he was good enough to do so.

"They didn't take Jonny Wilkinson off at half-time during the World Cup quarter-final against Wales when he was perceived to be having a poor game, did they?"

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18 Nov 06 |  Rugby Union
England 23-21 South Africa
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18 Nov 06 |  Rugby Union
England v South Africa statistics
18 Nov 06 |  Rugby Union
England player ratings
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England 18-25 Argentina
11 Nov 06 |  Rugby Union
England 20-41 New Zealand
05 Nov 06 |  Rugby Union


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