Geech tells England hold fire on coach

IAN McGeechan believes the English RFU should take its time in appointing Martin Johnson’s successor as England manager.

Johnson quit his post four days ago following a dismal World Cup campaign on and off the pitch.

Several people have already been linked with the job, including New Zealand’s World Cup-winning supremo Graham Henry, former South Africa coach Nick Mallett and Northampton chief Jim Mallinder.

But Bath boss and former British and Irish Lions coach McGeechan feels time is on Twickenham’s side, despite the RBS 6 Nations campaign starting in little more than two months’ time.

“I will be very interested to see which direction they go,” he said, following Bath’s 16-13 Heineken Cup victory over Montpellier at the Recreation Ground yesterday. “They should ideally look for an English coach. And I think it is key they probably take a bit of time to look at the best options.”

Asked if a caretaker coach should initially be appointed, McGeechan added: “I think the only way it would work is if they keep the same coaches for six months and then have a six-month process for finding the right man.

McGeechan looked on while World Cup winner Stephen Donald took centre stage for Bath as they put their European campaign back on track with a tense victory over dangerous French opposition.

The New Zealander, whose penalty secured World Cup final glory for the All Blacks against France in Auckland last month, marked his home debut in style.

Donald created Bath’s opening try and then almost scored the second following a lengthy interception sprint, while he also slotted two penalties to get his team up and running in Heineken Cup Pool Three.

Donald, who kicked two penalties, said: “We knew if we didn’t get the result today, we would be making up the numbers. We played poorly in the second half, but they are a very good French team and we can look at it positively in that we hung on.”

McGeechan added: “(Pool rivals) Leinster will be tough. They are used to winning in Europe now, they won pretty comfortably (against Glasgow) today, and we know it will be a really good challenge for us.”

BATH: Abendanon, Woodburn, Hipkiss, Vesty, Biggs, Donald, Claassens, Flatman, Batty, Wilson, Hooper, Caldwell, Louw, Moody, Taylor.

Replacements: Barkley for Vesty (75), McMillan for Claassens (72), Beech for Flatman (55), Lilley for Batty (48), Perenise for Wilson (55).

MONTPELLIER: Gonzalez Amorosino, Bustos Moyana, G. Doumayrou, Bosch, Peyras-Loustalet, Trinh-Duc, J. Tomas, Nariashvili, Creevy, Bustos, Tuineau, Privat, Mertin, Ouedraogo, Gorgodze.

Replacements: Audrin for Bustos Moyana (63), Paillaugue for J. Tomas (61), Leleimalefaga for Nariashvili (48), Jansen van Vuuren for Creevy (59), Jgenti for Bustos (59), Hancke for Tuineau (69), Matadigo for Privat (69).

Referee: A Rolland (Ireland).

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