Home > Six Nations 2020 > On This Day: Martin Johnson takes on the whole of Ireland

On This Day: Martin Johnson takes on the whole of Ireland

It was an unintended act of defiance but Martin Johnson’s decision not to obey the exhortations of a steward to move along the carpet so that Ireland could take their usual place in 2003 set the tone for the day on which England finally did claim a Grand Slam. 

Even the Irish president, Mary McAleese had to get her shoes dirty to perform the ceremonial handshaking.

That moment has since been described as defining footstep towards that team going on to lift the Rugby World Cup in Sydney later that year.

Martin Johnson’s fights: Five of his iconic SCRAPS

Despite being England’s inspirational captain at the 2003 Rugby World Cup, Martin Johnson did occasionally hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

1. Doddie Weir

After an argument breaks out at a scrum, Leicester lock Martin Johnson lands a punch on the chin of Scottish lock playing for the Barbarians Doddie Weir during their match in May 1999 at Twickenham.



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2 Responses

  1. Chris Jones

    Great piece of Captaincy, playing mind games, but as a Referee, I would’ve told Mr Johnson that the game will start with a penalty to Ireland on the half way , regardless as to which team had won the toss!, if he didn’t move his team to their correct place…..
    Imagine the fuss that would’ve caused?

    1. Andy Steele

      How could you award a penalty for an incident before the match? It was nothing to do with the referee, or any of the match officials who stood where at the ceremonial handshake!

      What a ridiculous statement!