Nick Mallett was my coach for four years with Italy and he changed us a lot in that time. We used to have one good game and then get slaughtered the next week. Nick changed Italy into a side that could compete with the top teams on a regular basis. If he were to be selected, he would bring a lot to the England job.
Don’t think that any of the nonsense that happened at the World Cup would take place with Nick. He will stop it before it even gets started. Mallett can be hard with people. He can lose his rag. He doesn’t always think before he speaks. But I would much rather have a man like Mallett who tells me off to my face, than a coach who goes behind my back.
Maybe selection was not a big issue for him in Italy, but we don’t have many players to choose from. But Mallett appointed strong, respected people to big positions. In his second year he made Alessandro Troncon assistant coach and Sergio Parisse captain.
These are good choices. Alessandro changed Italian rugby, he lives for rugby, he is really positive, he is respected. Sergio is a great captain who has the ability to play for the All Blacks. He is the key man, a leader, a force. Mallett brought them in.
Mallett was everywhere, not just a manager, but a coach, a planner, an inspirer. He spoke some French, he learned Italian, he found a way to communicate to the players. He talked about playing for the shirt, playing for the country, playing for your friends. Mallett was a great motivator and he would bring that same passion to England. I know the English and Mallett would have a team who were proud to play for their country.