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Rugby, Australian Football: Johnson keeps options open

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posted on Jul, 4 2004 @ 01:34 AM
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World Cup winning captain Martin Johnson has refused to rule out a record third tour as Lions captain in New Zealand next year.

Johnson, who retired as England skipper before the 2004 Six Nations, remains the man the All Blacks fear. And Johnson said last night: "You can never say never to anything in life.

"I've made myself unavailable for England because it takes up too much of my life – but you never know what's in store."

The door was opened for Johnson on Thursday at the Roehampton club when Lions boss Sir Clive Woodward, on his way to the Royal Box at Wimbledon, held his first briefing before next year's Zurich-sponsored tour.

Asked if he would consider players who had retired from international rugby – Rob Howley and Scott Quinnell of Wales, Bryan Redpath of Scotland, Keith Wood of Ireland and Johnson and Neil Back of England are the obvious candidates – Woodward said: "I wouldn't rule anybody out.

"Obviously it would help if they play for their countries but I'd love two players in particular to declare themselves available."

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