Martin Johnson steps down as England manager
Martin Johnson has resigned as England head coach in the wake of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand
Martin Johnson has stepped down as England head coach following a disappointing World Cup campaign.
The 41-year-old, who was at the helm for three-and-a-half years, announced his decision to leave the post on Wednesday in the wake of last month’s tournament in New Zealand, where England lost to France in the quarter-finals.
“I’ve obviously thought long and hard about this and it’s the right decision for me and the England team,” said Johnson.
“We have come a long way in the last three-and-a-half years and a lot of credit should go to the coaches, back-room staff and players.
“We have developed some exciting young players in the last 18 months or so and I believe English rugby has a bright future. I’ve had great support from everyone involved in the England squad, the Elite Rugby Department and the whole of the RFU and I wish them all the best for the future.”
RFU elite rugby director Rob Andrew paid credit to Johnson’s efforts, praising the way the former Leicester lock redeveloped the England side after the 2007 World Cup.
“Martin has worked tirelessly to develop this England team, from a position where the team needed a great deal of rebuilding following the 2007 World Cup,” said Andrews.
“A whole new group of players has been introduced to the demands of Test match rugby, including: Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes, Tom Croft, Tom Wood, Ben Youngs, Danny Care, Manu Tuilagi, Chris Ashton and Ben Foden.
“They have experienced winning in the southern hemisphere against Australia and winning the Six Nations title for the first time since 2003.
“They have also suffered the huge disappointment of the World Cup in New Zealand and how many of these players respond to this disappointment will define their careers.”
Andrews said the decision had been made by Johnson himself, and the RFU will now begin their search for his successor.
“We have always insisted that Martin would take the team to the World Cup and we would then assess what steps would be taken,” added Andrews. “Martin has made this decision and we fully respect that.”
“He has handled himself with great dignity and integrity throughout his time as England Team Manager, as he did when he was England captain.
“He is a hugely respected figure in the English game and, although we were all disappointed with the way the World Cup turned out, we need to ensure that moving forward we learn the lessons that came out of the campaign.
“The Professional Game Board will meet to review England’s Rugby World Cup performance and Martin has obviously contributed fully to that. All aspects of the management and coaching structure will be reviewed and until then it would not be appropriate to talk about a replacement for Martin.”