Rugby Union

On this day in 2011: Martin Johnson resigns as England team manager

Martin Johnson (right) announced his resignation as England rugby union team manager on this day in 2011 (Rebecca Naden/PA)
PA Sport Staff

World Cup-winner Martin Johnson resigned from his role as England rugby union team manager on this day in 2011.

Johnson departed following a poor World Cup campaign, which was mired in controversy off the pitch and saw England exit in the quarter-finals in disappointing fashion to France.

Captain for England’s 2003 triumph, Johnson took on the manager role in 2008 despite no previous coaching experience and guided his country to the Six Nations title six months before a World Cup to forget in New Zealand.

France’s Cedric Heymans, Fabien Barcella and Dimitri Szarzewski celebrate
Johnson’s announcement came after England were dumped out of the World Cup by France (Lynne Cameron/PA)

England arrived with optimism, but struggled to a 13-9 victory over Argentina in their opener after a late try by Ben Youngs.

A four-point win over Scotland confirmed England’s passage into the last eight, but their luck ran out with another error-strewn display resulting in a 19-12 loss to France in the quarter-finals.

With Johnson’s contract due to expire before the end of the year and after a string of incidents involving his players in New Zealand, the ex-captain confirmed his resignation five weeks after their World Cup ended.

“I think it is in the best interests of both the England team and myself not to carry on,” Johnson said.

“While we’ve had our most successful season with 10 wins from 13, we are disappointed with how we ended it with the World Cup. I think it’s the right decision at this time

“The cycles are from World Cup to World Cup and you have to decide whether you are prepared to jump in for four years and wholly commit yourself to that job and weigh it up. I’m not.”

Rugby Union