Martin Johnson (rugby union)
|Martin Johnson playing for Leicester|
|Full name||Martin Osborne Johnson|
|Date of birth||9 March 1970|
|Place of birth||Solihull, West Midlands, England|
|Height||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)|
|Weight||18 st 9 lb (119 kg)|
|Rugby union career|
|Professional / senior clubs|
|Years||Club / team||Caps||(points)|
|correct as of 7 September 2011.|
|Years||Club / team||Caps||(points)|
1993, 1997, 2001
|New Zeal. U21
British and Irish Lions
|correct as of 12 December 2007.|
|Years||Club / team|
Martin Osborne Johnson CBE (born 9 March 1970) is an English former rugby union player who represented and captained England and Leicester. He is best known for captaining England to victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup. He is regarded as one of the greatest locks ever to have played. He toured three times with the British and Irish Lions, becoming the only man to have captained them on two separate tours. He also led his club Leicester Tigers to consecutive Heineken Cup victories and won the league six times.
He became the new England team manager on 1 July 2008, replacing the previous manager Brian Ashton. Despite no coaching experience, he was appointed team manager of the national England rugby union side in April 2008, but left the post in November 2011 following England's disappointing performance and lack of discipline at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (October 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
Johnson was born in Shirley, Solihull and lived on Solihull Road where he attended Blossomfield infant school in the West Midlands, the second of three brothers – his younger brother Will is a former back row forward. At the age of seven, his family moved to Market Harborough, Leicestershire, where Martin attended Ridgeway Primary School, Welland Park School and Robert Smyth School.
Johnson briefly played American football for the Leicester Panthers as a tight end or defensive end. In 1989 he was approached by former All Black Colin Meads to try out for the King Country side in New Zealand.
Johnson's trial run was successful and he played two seasons for King Country. In 1990 he was even selected for the New Zealand under-21 side which went on a tour of Australia playing a side that included another of the all-time great lock forwards, John Eales.
In late 1990, Johnson returned to England because his New Zealand girlfriend, and later wife, Kay, wanted to travel. He played for Leicester Tigers from 1989 to 2005.
In 1997 with the retirement of Dean Richards, Johnson was made club captain but only captained the side when Richards was not playing. In 1997 Leicester won the Pilkington Cup and reached the final of the Heineken Cup.
Johnson retired from international rugby in January 2004 but continued to play for Leicester until 2005. With his captaincy (lasting 1997 to 2003) the Leicester Tigers won four Zurich Premiership titles and two Heineken Cups.
Johnson had made his test debut against France in January 1993 under dramatic circumstances. He was due to play in another game when he was unexpectedly summoned to Twickenham to replace the injured Wade Dooley. With barely any proper preparation (he had a last-minute line-out session with his new teammates before the game), Johnson was thrown into the deep end. An early clash of heads with French prop Laurent Seigne momentarily left Johnson dazed, but he recovered and went on to play superbly as England won 16–15. He then went on to become part of the side that won the 1995 Grand Slam. He was also called up to the 1993 Lions tour as a replacement, playing in two tests. Lawrence Dallaglio was appointed England captain by new England coach Clive Woodward. However, Johnson took the captaincy in 1999 after Dallaglio was caught in a News of the World sting operation. Under Johnson's leadership, England moved away from being a forward-dominated side and towards the 15-man rugby that Woodward wanted them to play. He was again asked to captain the Lions tour to Australia in 2001, becoming the only man to captain them twice. The tour was hugely successful financially; however, they lost 2–1 to a seasoned Australian side captained by John Eales and coached by Rod Macqueen.
Lions Tour 1997
Johnson was selected to captain the 1997 British Lions tour of South Africa. The Lions convincingly won the first test at Newlands 25–16 with Neil Jenkins kicking five penalties and Matt Dawson and Alan Tait scoring tries. Despite scoring three tries in the second test at Durban, the Springboks suffered from some woeful goal kicking and failed to land any penalties or conversions, while for the Lions Neil Jenkins once again kicked five penalties to level the scores at 15–15 before Jeremy Guscott dropped a goal for an 18–15 lead for the Lions. The Lions then held off a ferocious South African fightback, Lawrence Dallaglio putting in a magnificent try-saving tackle, to win the match 18–15 and take the series. The third test at Ellis Park proved a match too far for the Lions squad and they lost 35–16. The tour was a triumph for the Lions management of Fran Cotton (manager), Ian McGeechan (head coach), Jim Telfer (assistant coach) and especially the captain Johnson.
Rugby World Cup 2003
The 2003 Grand Slam season was followed by a successful warm up tour to New Zealand and Australia. Among the highlights was England's 15–13 win over the All Blacks, during which the 6-man England scrum (with 2 back row forwards in the sin bin), held off sustained pressure to clinch England's first win over the All Blacks in New Zealand since 1973. During the match, Johnson famously told his comrades in the scrum to "get down and shove". When asked about what was going through his head in the scrum he replied "my spine". In England's 20–17 victory over Australia, Johnson also performed at a monumental level, leading the former Australian captain, John Eales (who retired in 2001), to commend his display as 'among the best ever by a lock forward'. They took this into the 2003 World Cup, where they won crucial matches against South Africa, Wales and France, beating Australia in the final to win the cup with an extra time drop goal.
He was awarded the CBE in the 2004 New Year honours and was second in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards behind Jonny Wilkinson. Johnson's testimonial match and farewell to competitive rugby, held at Twickenham on 4 June 2005, was one of the biggest rugby events of the year. It was historic in another way as the match marked the return of All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu after a recent kidney transplant. Johnson's XV defeated Lomu's 33–29. All proceeds from the match went to children's and cancer charities.
On 24 October 2011, at the IRB Awards in Auckland, Johnson was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame alongside all other Rugby World Cup-winning captains and head coaches from the tournament's inception in 1987 through 2007 (minus the previously inducted John Eales).
England Head Coach
In November 2006 it was rumoured the then England head rugby coach, Andy Robinson, was to be sacked and Johnson was one of many names speculated by the press as his replacement. The Rugby Football Union eventually selected Brian Ashton for the role.
Johnson was appointed England team manager in April 2008. England started the 2008 Autumn internationals by beating the Pacific Islands 39–13. That was followed with a loss to Australia, then a 42–6 defeat to South Africa and then another loss this time 32–6 against New Zealand at Twickenham.
England had four wins under Johnson going into 2009; in the 2009 Six Nations Championship they beat Italy 36–11, France 34–10 and Scotland 26–12 but were defeated by Ireland by 14–13 and to Wales by 23–15. They did however come second in the 2009 Six Nations ahead of 2008 Champions Wales and scored the most points and tries in the tournament.
In the 2010 Six Nations England won their first two games against Wales and Italy, losing against Ireland, drawing with Scotland and losing their final game against France, allowing the French to win a Grand Slam.
In 2011, Johnson led a new-look England side to win the 2011 Six Nations title, thanks to wins over Wales, Italy, France and Scotland, though a 24–8 loss to Ireland on the final weekend of the competition denied them the Grand Slam. He resigned on 16 November 2011 following England's poor performance on and off the field at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
International matches as Head Coach
Note: World Rankings Column shows the World Ranking England was placed at on the following Monday after each of their matches
Record by country
|Opponent||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Win ratio (%)||For||Against|
- Six Nations Championship
- Winners: 2011
- Runners-up: 2009
- Calcutta Cup
- Winners: 2009, 2010, 2011
- Cook Cup
- Winners: 2010
As a player
- Six Nations 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2003
- Grand Slam 1995, 2003
- Triple Crown 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003
- World Cup 2003
- New Zealand tour 1993 as replacement, losing 2–1
- South African tour 1997 as captain, winning 2–1
- Australia tour 2001 as captain, losing 2–1
As a manager
- Six Nations 2011
|Rugby Union Captain|
|English National Rugby Union Captain
June 2000 – April 2001
November 2001 – March 2002
November 2002 – February 2003
|British and Irish Lions Captain
|IRB World Cup
- Barbarians profile
- Team of the Pro Era Planet Rugby 5 October 2009
- Johnson named as England supremo BBC Sport, 16 April 2008
- "European glory seals Leicester treble". BBC. 19 May 2001. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- "Tigers retain European Cup". BBC. 25 May 2002. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- England down All Blacks
- "RWC legends inducted into IRB Hall of Fame" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
- Standley, James (18 March 2011). "2011 Six Nations: Ireland 24–8 England". BBC Sport. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
- Martin Johnson resigns from role as England manager
- Johnson a giant oak right down to his roots