Gibbs backing Johnson

Scott Gibbs has hailed his former British Lions team-mate Martin Johnson's high-profile England appointment as "a great coup". [more]

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Scott Gibbs has hailed his former British Lions team-mate Martin Johnson’s high-profile England appointment as "a great coup".

Ex-Wales centre Gibbs played a major part in the 1997 Test series triumph against South Africa, when Johnson was Lions captain.

And Gibbs believes 2003 World Cup-winning skipper Johnson will make a success of the England team manager’s job he officially landed on Wednesday.

He explained: "This will give English rugby a huge tonic.

"Martin has been the most successful northern hemisphere player since rugby has gone professional. I think it’s a great appointment.

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"He knows how to win Heineken Cups, he knows how to win a Lions series and he knows how to win a World Cup.

"While (former England boss) Clive Woodward took most of the plaudits for that World Cup success, don’t underestimate the role of the captain in taking the team to the finishing line.

"I think he is definitely the right man for the job. It’s a great coup for English rugby and British rugby."

Johnson won’t officially take charge until July 1, but his early tasks include identifying an addition to England’s coaching staff and assessing selection options for a June 1 clash against the Barbarians, which is followed by a two-Test New Zealand tour.

It follows the Rugby Football Union management board’s decision on Wednesday, relieving Brian Ashton of England head coaching duties and offering him a national academy post instead.

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