RFU chiefs stand by Johnson
March 24, 2010
Martyn Thomas has backed Martin Johnson for the Rugby World Cup © Getty Images
The RFU has dismissed speculation that there will be changes to the England management structure prior to the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
After a disappointing Six Nations campaign there have been calls for an overhaul of the coaching structure under manager Martin Johnson and also speculation that elite rugby director Rob Andrew would be replaced.
Following a meeting of the RFU management board, chairman Martyn Thomas insisted that Johnson would remain in place through to the World Cup and also that he would continue to have final say over his coaching staff, which currently comprises forwards coach John Wells, attack coach Brian Smith, scrummaging coach Graham Rowntree, defence coach Mike Ford and kicking coach Jon Callard.
"To come third in the Six Nations is clearly disappointing but we know that nobody is more disappointed than the England team management and the players," he said. "The RFU management board discussed the ongoing media speculation about the England team management and our elite rugby department and were unanimous in their view that it is unwarranted and unsubstantiated.
"The RFU has consistently said that Martin Johnson will be the England team manager through to the World Cup in 2011 and that remains our position. In that role he has to have the freedom to appoint the coaching team he thinks will best support him and equally that position has not changed. Over and above that, contrary to assertions in some media, there is no planned review of the elite department or the wider RFU in July following the summer tour."
England will play two Tests against Australia, in Perth on June 12 and Sydney on June 19, and three midweek games, against the Australian Barbarians and New Zealand Maori.