Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Tyrone Howe: England in turmoil

While the Ireland squad arrive home with reputations intact, and in some cases enhanced, England look like a fairly dishevelled bunch of individuals.

Now that they are out of the tournament, almost without exception, my English friends confess that they are pleased, because there is little of which they feel proud. What an incredibly sad state of affairs for a national team. Yet, as extraordinary as it seems, problems on the pitch are overshadowed by the infighting and political turbulence within the RFU.

Martin Johnson is the ultimate competitor and team man. He is uncomplicated and far removed from the footballer mentality which sadly is creeping into professionalism.

Privately, he will be fuming about how his players have let him and themselves down.

As top dog, he knows that the buck stops with him. Therefore, I expect it will only be a matter of time before he removes himself from his position. Alternatively, who actually has the authority or credibility to remove England’s World Cup captain? The RFU are a laughing stock.

It is only a matter of time before Clive Woodward’s name enters the frame once again. I hope that deposed CEO, John Steele, is sitting with his feet up, a fat cheque in the bank, and chuckling quietly to himself.

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