England coaching vacancy
Kirwan eyes England caretaker role
November 30, 2011
John Kirwan talks to injured serviceman Paul Bennett ahead of Saturday's match © Getty Images
John Kirwan has expressed his interest in guiding England through the forthcoming Six Nations on an interim basis.
Kirwan is interested in succeeding Martin Johnson on an interim basis while the Rugby Football Union assemble a coaching team to lead England to the 2015 World Cup. Reports have linked Graham Rowntree, Stuart Lancaster and Brian Ashton with the caretaker position. And on Wednesday, The Guardian suggested Lancaster and Rowntree have already agreed to take control of England through the forthcoming Six Nations.
Ashton - in contrast - claims he has not spoken to the RFU about a role with the organisation in nearly a year, "I have no idea where all this started," Ashton told The Independent. "The one thing I do know is that I've had no conversation on the subject with anyone from the Rugby Football Union, received no approach and certainly not been offered anything. In fact. I haven't had any sort of formal discussion with anyone from the governing body for the best part of a year."
Kirwan, speaking in promotion of Saturday's Heroes Rugby Challenge at Twickenham, is also interested with a view to eventually securing a more permanent role. And the former Italy and Japan coach insists he would be unperturbed by the political crisis and structural problems troubling the RFU. "I understand the situation the RFU is in at the moment, but I'm a little bit different to the other coaches," he said. "Others like Nick [Mallett] and Wayne [Smith] are saying no because of the structure above, but I'm at a different stage of my career.
"I'm a young coach, I enjoy risk, I love attack. Someone needs to get in there and sort the team out. If I'm not part of the future I'm prepared to do it as long as I'm set up to help these boys get back on the pitch and win football games.
"And then if there is a role because we have done well...
"England are not a complete failure - they won the Six Nations (in 2011) and played some great rugby. They have a great team and a great Premiership competition, but there are some structural issues that need to be sorted out."
Former Gloucester boss Dean Ryan, an outsider for the head coach's position, insists he has no confidence that the RFU will resolve the many internal issues that has made the English game a laughing stock.
"The events of the last six months have led to a lack of confidence in the governing body," he said. "They are in a state of flux, in a void at the moment and pretty quickly someone needs to restart building trust.
"How do we get confidence that decisions are not taken for a vested interest? That is an erosion of confidence."
Kirwan and Ryan are coaching the Northern Hemisphere against the Southern Hemisphere in a match staged to raise money for the Help for Heroes charity. Danny Grewcock, Will Greenwood, Ben Cohen, Andrew Mehrtens and Justin Marshall are among the players who will join servicemen and emerging academy talent at Twickenham.
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