London - Stuart Lancaster will coach England on a caretaker basis through the Six Nations championship while a permanent replacement is sought to take over from Martin Johnson, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) said on Thursday.
Johnson resigned last month following England's quarter-final exit at the World Cup after a campaign marked by problems on and off the pitch.
Lancaster, 42, the former Leeds forward currently in charge of the second-string England Saxons team, will be assisted by Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell.
England, who won the Six Nations last season for the first time since 2003, begin their defence in Scotland on Febuary 4.
RFU officials said last week they would take their time in finding Johnson's replacement but expected to have the new man in charge for next year's June tour of South Africa.
Former Saxons boss and present Northampton coach Jim Mallinder is the bookmakers' favourite to get the England job on a permanent basis. Nick Mallett, Wayne Smith, Eddie Jones and John Kirwan are among a group of well-established contenders hoping to become the country's first overseas coach.