Mallinder for England job?

2011-11-17 20:20

Northampton - Northampton said on Thursday that they are determined to do all they can to keep coach Jim Mallinder at the club if England come calling for the Saints boss to replace Martin Johnson.

Former captain Johnson resigned as England manager on Wednesday following a disappointing World Cup campaign that brought the curtain down on his three and a half years in charge.

Although Mallinder's playing career was nowhere near as successful as that of Johnson, he has far more experience as a coach than the 2003 World Cup-winning captain, who had no record at all in management or coaching before being given the England job.

Mallinder has coached both the England under-21s and the England Saxons, winning 15 of his 16 games in charge of the national "A" team.

The 45-year-old, the leading English candidate to replace Johnson, is under contract with Northampton until the end of next season.

Since arriving at the Midlands club in 2007, Mallinder has guided the Saints back into the top-flight English Premiership, won the European Challenge Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup and last season took Northampton to the European Cup final.

"Clearly I would not want him (Mallinder) to leave - that is a no-brainer," chairman Leon Barwell told the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.

"There is nothing official from the RFU (Rugby Football Union). We can only speculate as to what will happen next and who they are looking at.

"Clearly, Jim is a first-class coach and is bound to be in the running for the England job. We will just have to deal with it as to when and if it materialises.

"Jim and I are in very close contact, and as events unfold we will talk about it and make the right decision.

"At the moment the RFU is still reviewing events and it is not clear as to what is going to take place. The process cannot begin until a structure is sorted out, and we will find out that within the next few days and weeks.

"But I would try to persuade him to stay. It is a big job for anybody to take on, and we would clearly want him to stay here and continue the excellent work he is doing at Saints.

"Jim is an excellent coach, and I think that whatever he puts his mind to, he has got that determination to succeed."

Former South Africa and Italy coach Nick Mallett, strongly linked with the England job, ruled himself out of the running on Wednesday and the leadership vacuum at Twickenham - the Rugby Football Union are currently without a permanent chief executive - could deter other high profile candidates.