'He had no game management' - Matt Dawson's harsh criticism of Jonny Wilkinson | Ruck

‘He had no game management’ – Matt Dawson’s harsh criticism of Jonny Wilkinson

England legend Jonny Wilkinson just wasn’t a natural playmaker, says his former halfback partner Matt Dawson.

The scrum-half, who passed Wilkinson the ball that he propelled through the posts in the final seconds in Sydney in 2003 to win the World Cup, had suggested the fly-half has always relied too heavily for inspiration on thinkers around him.

“What is missing in his repertoire is an ability to read the game, understand where England are playing and where they should be playing,” wrote Dawson in a column in 2010.

“He is now forever stationed at full back or on the wing when the team are defending, so when the ball is kicked into England’s half it more often than not falls to him. Well, Jonny is never going to counter-attack himself, so he will either pass or kick, more often the latter.

“He can play in the way that has been planned on a flip chart in team meetings, but if it comes down to him to work out on the hoof what options to take, more often than not he will kick – and miss opportunities to attack.

“That is not news, it’s the way it has always been. Jonny needs players around him – guys like Mike Catt, Will Greenwood, myself or Kyran Bracken – to take decisions, then he will execute them brilliantly.”

England legend Martin Johnson, who was the head coach at the time fired back at ‘proactive’ Dawson, saying:“ I didn’t make any decisions either; it was all Matt Dawson,”

Austin Healey, a maverick who was never a fixture, either in the team or in any one position, also said: “Get off Jonny Wilkinson’s case – and that includes you Matt Dawson.” 

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LIST CONTINUES ON PAGE TWO


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