News24

England set to name coaches

2011-12-08 15:49

London - England's beleaguered Rugby Football Union is set to announce later on Thursday its interim coaching team for the Six Nations as they try to get back on track after a chaotic World Cup.

It has been widely reported that Stuart Lancaster, coach of the reserve team England Saxons, will be installed as caretaker coach for the defence of England's Six Nations title, which begins in February, while the RFU search for a permanent successor to Martin Johnson.

England failed to reach their minimum goal of a semi-final spot at the recent World Cup in New Zealand, losing to France in the last eight, after a campaign marred by embarrassing off-field incidents, including centre Mike Tindall's alcohol-fuelled night out with several other players in Queenstown.

Team manager Johnson, England's 2003 World Cup winning captain, resigned after the squad's return and a series of reports, all leaked to The Times newspaper, painted a picture of an ill-disciplined squad lacking the necessary leadership and tactical input from the coaching staff.

But RFU elite rugby director Rob Andrew refused to quit, although the ex England flyhalf was subsequently shunted into a new role of professional rugby director without any responsibility for the senior national side.

Andrew's former position was cited as an impediment to the appointment of a world-class, proven, coach as a long-term successor to Johnson, with the likes of former South Africa and Italy boss Nick Mallett saying they'd want to report directly to the chief executive and the board, not a director of rugby.

Neither Mallett, nor former New Zealand assistant coach Wayne Smith, who has also been linked with the England job, are currently in a position to take on the role and last month the RFU said they hoped to have a full-time successor to Johnson in place by the time of the tour of South Africa in June.

England's first match of the 2012 Six Nations is away to old rivals Scotland on February 4.

AFP