Johnson took up his post last week after leaving a similar position with Scottish Rugby.

He divided opinion during his time with Scotland. Always ready with a glib comment to journalists, he was rarely seen at matches involving Edinburgh or Glasgow.

And, despite attending few matches at amateur level, he declared the structure unfit for purpose. Johnson led a revamp of the structure, introducing a semi-professional tier which will come into force this autumn.

He had a disastrous period as interim Scotland coach winning five times in 16 test matches. But He earned plaudits for securing the services of Vern Cotter as his successor.

Johnson also received credit in some quarters for overseeing an improvement in Scotland’s international fortunes.

The 56 year old has now returned to his native Australia, And, he appears to have lost none of his penchant for soundbites.

Talking to Sky Sports Rugby, Johnson voiced his belief that he can improve the fortunes of the Wallabies.

The Wallabies have performed poorly under head coach Michael Cheika and are now ranked sixth in the world, one place ahead of Scotland.

However, Johnson is confident of working with Cheika to make an impression at the World Cup.

“We have as much chance as anyone else,” he said. “We’re not a million miles off. Everyone talks about the problems in Australian rugby from afar but there’s a lot of countries around the world that wish they had the same problems.”

Of the team’s chances, he added, “They got to the last World Cup final and we have a pretty formidable record but we can’t rely on that, and don’t expect to.”


Written by Colin Renton