From world champions to the laughing stock of rugby union in just eight years, England has never had it so bad. But sacking Rob Andrew is not the answer.
It is no surprise the media circus has jumped on the bandwagon of trying to force the elite rugby director Andrew to resign or be sacked. We live in a blame culture. And the former England fly-half was responsible for hiring team manager Martin Johnson who led the resignations at the top after England’s failure at the 2011 rugby world cup. But the critics have got it wrong if they believe the answer is simply to see the guys at the top booted into touch.
In my view Johnson should have been persuaded to carry on. That is Andrew’s biggest failing because Johnno now has the experience needed to move on and put right his mistakes.
Andrew is an intelligent and honourable man from the age when England’s rugby stars were only semi professional and had day jobs. He was made for this role and his declaration that rugby has “hit rock bottom” is spot on. But we need him at the helm to sort out the mess.
It is easy to blame Johnson for all the embarrassment that has engulfed England. But the real culprits here are the players who have let their manager down in more ways than one. The controversy caused by leaked reports based on anonymous interviews given by players who were part of the World Cup squad only highlights the divisions in the England camp.
England’s rugby stars have lost touch with the sporting ideals that made their game great since turning professional. And that is the root of the problem. Too many fast cars, loose women and a weakness for celebrity status chasing has turned our heroes with big fat zeros in their bank accounts into first class chumps.
We need to get back to the days when playing for England was all about pride and passion. Ironically we need to rediscover the days when Andrew was a star player with team mates like Johnson and record breaking try scorer Rory Underwood.
That is why Andrew must carry on. He knows what makes England great. There is little chance of Johnson being persuaded to return as manager – but without him the job of re-building England is only going to be harder.