Lawrence Dallaglio believes Martin Johnson's winning mentality will lead to a rise in standards in the England team.
Dallaglio feels “things have not been the same” since Sir Clive Woodward left in 2004 but is confident Johnson will rebuild the demanding environment which helped England win the 2003 World Cup.
Delivering the annual Obolensky Lecture in London last night, Dallaglio used the off-field problems England encountered on the summer tour to New Zealand as an example of how standards have dropped.
He criticised the decision to allow the players to go drinking until the early hours after losing the first Test 37-20 - an evening which led to a police investigation after a local woman made unproven allegations against four members of the squad.
Dallaglio expects the relative newcomers to the England squad to be in for a rude awakening when Johnson takes charge for the autumn internationals.
“Martin Johnson knows what it takes to win,” said Dallaglio.
“He knows that if you lose by 37 points in New Zealand you don’t go out on the town.
“The best winners are those who hate losing. There are some standards that are non-negotiable that have been missing from the England team over the last few years.”
A lack of leadership was blamed for England’s off-field problems in New Zealand. Steve Borthwick was captain of a squad with few senior players to act as a guide to the young players.
Dallaglio believes growing that leadership group is one of the biggest challenges Johnson faces as the new England manager.
He fears the professional game is producing players who have not had any opportunity to develop life skills and personalities outside rugby.
“One area that is key to this reputational risk is the need for players to have interests outside of the sport to provide the necessary balance and perspective,” continued the former England captain.
“Rugby players are not machines. The balance between work and life is also key for me in a career.”
Dallaglio followed Woodward, USA Rugby chairman Kevin Roberts and RFU chief executive Francis Baron in being invited to deliver the Obolensky Lecture.