Former England boss Martin Johnson has made his long awaited return to coaching, nine years after he left his role with the RFU in 2011.
The 50-year-old took charge of a session to Loughborough Lightning’s squad on a recent campus visit.
Speaking to Loughborough Sport following the session, Johnson said:
“I was asked to come down and do a session, but they didn’t really need me! The enthusiasm, understanding and the skills of the players was very impressive.
“I remember coming here and coaching the England team, 15 – 17 years ago, and the level of the women’s game has since gone through the roof – the skill level is fantastic.
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“The players here are eager and keen, willing to learn and have a great knowledge of the game.”
Lightning currently sit in third place in the Allianz Premier 15s after four fixtures and it is hoped that Johnson’s influence will inspire the side to build on its solid start to the season.
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Martin Johnson’s All-Time XV: No Dallaglio or Robinson
Fullback: Serge Blanco (France) – “A great France full back who dominated games.”
Winger: Joe Roff (Australia) – “You’d put David Campese up there but Roff is my choice. A fantastic all-round rugby player, and old-style wing.”
Winger: Jonah Lomu (New Zealand) – “Not much difficulty in choosing one of the most awesome wings to have ever played.”
Outside-centre: Philippe Sella (France) – “I used to watch him as a kid on TV and think he was brilliant; and then ten years later I played against him and he was still brilliant. He still looks as if he could play for France today. One of the best backs I’ve ever seen. If you hit him it was like running into concrete.”
Inside-centre: Danie Gerber (South Africa) – “Scored a hat-trick against England in the first half in one match in the 1980s. He didn’t play many Tests because of apartheid, but he had power and pace. I don’t know if he could pass: it seemed like he never needed to. I played against him in a charity match in 1996 when he must have been well into his 40s, he was still awesome.”