Outgoing England team manager Martin Johnson insists he has no regrets as he leaves the job after three and a half years and has defended his employers, the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
It emerged on Wednesday that Johnson had decided to step down, and on Wednesday afternoon Johnson appeared at a press conference along side Rob Andrew, the current RFU operations director.
The former England, British & Irish Lions and Leicester captain presided over a troubled 2011 Rugby World Cup campaign. His team crashed out in the quarter-finals against France and were dogged by off-field controversies.
Johnson said: "There are no regrets at all. I came into it with my eyes open, as I said at the time, and I leave with my eyes open. You make your decisions based on the information you have at the time. I've got no regrets at all, that's the price you pay, the risk you take."
Asked if he felt let down by senior players misbehaving during the World Cup, Johnson said: "I don't feel let down. It doesn't help, but it doesn't reflect what we had as a group.
"It made it difficult for us. It wasn't an easy situation for Mike [Tindall]. But I didn't think it affected the performance level that much.
"Executing the skills under that pressure let us down. It was fundamental execution of skills of the game."
Sitting alongside Johnson, Andrew was asked why he did not step in to help when 'the wheels were coming off' during the tournament, Johnson interjected to defend his employers: "I had plenty of support, I had all the help I needed," Johnson added.
"I thought where the team was was one of the best places I've seen it. We got the team in the best place we could in terms of winning games. It was my decision to deal with the media myself because I believe that's the way it should be. I had all the support that I needed from the union at every level."
Asked if he would consider his own position, considering England's generally poor performances during his tenure, Andrew said: "My job is to run the department. It's a huge department ... it's not just about the playing side.
"Martin's done a fantastic job in difficult circumstances. There was a huge rebuilding job to be done. I am absolutely not considering resigning."
"I'm not sure how many of you [the assembled journalists] have worked in business in terms of structures and reporting lines," added Andrew. "Martin's role and the England team is a part of the structure. It's about a fifth of the responsibilities that I have.
"It's a complete misunderstanding of my job which you clearly have."
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