Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Mallett is right man for England

Steve Thompson has backed Nick Mallett and Wayne Smith as the "outstanding" management team to pick up the pieces of England's World Cup campaign and guide them to glory in 2015.

Thompson, the 33-year-old England and Wasps hooker, also laid into a so-called culture of expectation that led to claims some of England's World Cup players were more focused on money than rugby.

Mallett, the former South Africa, Stade Francais and Italy coach, is now the leading candidate to replace Johnson in charge of England. When asked by Press Association Sport if Mallett and Smith would be his management dream-team, Thompson said: "That would be outstanding".

He added: "I have had a few conversations with him (Mallett) in the past. I have been very impressed with him.

"When he was in France he spoke fluent French, he bought into the culture and led Stade Francais to the title. In Italy, he spoke fluent Italian. He went in there, found out their culture, bought into their mentality and still brought his own.

"He has coached all around the world. We want coaches with worldwide experience. Look at Wayne Smith for New Zealand. He has exactly that. He went back there after all his experience with Northampton."

In order to move forward, Thompson insisted England must address the issue raised by Rob Andrew in his leaked World Cup report, that "some players were more focused on money than rugby".

Thompson, a builder turned 2003 World Cup-winner, believes modern young players are spoiled and that the whole game needs to undergo a cultural shift, saying: "I think some of the lads get everything given to them before they have done anything.

"I don't think it is just the (culture of the current England) squad, it is rugby as a whole.

"That has been sneaking into the game and hopefully now it will stamp it out a little bit. Rugby as a whole has had a kick up the backside and we can all pull it together."


From Belfast Telegraph