England coaches are clueless under-achievers, says World Cup winner Josh Lewsey

By Sportsmail Reporter

josh lewsey

Tackling the issues: Lewsey didn't hold back

World Cup winner Josh Lewsey has blasted the current England coaches and claimed they have absolutely no chance of digging the team out of trouble before New Zealand arrive at Twickenham on Saturday.

The former Lions, England and London Wasps utility back has worked with the majority of the backroom staff; Brian Smith (backs), John Wells (forwards), Mike Ford (defence), Graham Rowntree (scrum) and Jonathan Callard (kicking) and played under the team manager Martin Johnson.

Lewsey, who retired at the end of last season, told the Evening Standard: 'Just look at what London Irish have done since Brian Smith left and he didn't achieve anything at Test level when he played, Mike Ford didn't win anything, while John Wells never played international rugby.

'Wells' achievements as a coach are terrible and what justifies these people keeping their jobs?

'Yes, Wells and Ford helped England to reach the World Cup final in 2007, but I would counter that it didn't have anything to do with them because the players took charge and decided how we were going to play.

'England are the best resourced and biggest union in the world yet Wales have greater playing depth and coaches.'

martin johnson and coaches

Under fire: Johnson (left) with Callard (centre) and Wells at Twickenham

Lewsey was heavily involved in England's 2007 World Cup campaign, though a knee injury ruled him out of the defeat in the final against South Africa.

During the tournament key members of the squad reacted to early problems, subsequently claimed by some players to have arisen because of mixed messages received from the coaching staff, by taking control of the tactical plan.

Mike Catt, Phil Vickery, Lewsey and Lawrence Dallaglio were amongst the core group that came up with a style of rugby which enabled England to mount a credible defence of their title.

With the national team losing to Australia and stumbling to a 16-9 win over Argentina, the current squad appears in desperate need of direction and inspiration.

jonny wilkinson

Running on empty: Jonny Wilkinson struggles to find a way past Argentina

But Rowntree today backed Wells as one of the 'best practitioners' in the game as the England management presented a united front.

Wells' position has been questioned amid speculation that England are being hampered by a clash in philosophies with the attack coach Smith.

One insider suggested after Saturday's uninspiring victory over Argentina that Wells' influence over the squad had grown stale.

But Rowntree railed at such criticism and Smith insisted any differences between the two had been ironed out and that the England management tread a 'common path'.

Rowntree said: 'I am sick of hearing about Wellsy and about this difference of opinion he is supposed to have on his view of the game.

england 2003 world cup win

Glory days: The England team celebrate winning the 2003 World Cup in Australia

'He is one of the best practitioners around in forward play and he wants us to win. He will sit in with whoever is coaching.

'We take the criticism and rightly so. We would like to have beaten Argentina by more but that is a hard-work team. They always are. Wales will find that out on Saturday.

'We will take the criticism but some of the comments about that coach in particular are uncalled for. I have seen a lot of coaches but he is one of the best practitioners around in (attention to) detail and in making decisions.

'He is getting fingered for a lot of things and it is wrong.'

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