The Rugby Football Union today announced that John Wells and Mike Ford, England’s forwards and defence coaches respectively for the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups, will be leaving the Union.
Acting RFU Chief Executive Stephen Brown said: “John and Mike have given great service to England and rugby in this country over many years and their contribution is appreciated.
“As well as his role with the senior team, John has played a major part in developing players as a National Academy coach since he joined the RFU in 2005. In his five-and-a-half years with the senior team Mike created one of the best defences in world rugby, and while the World Cup was obviously disappointing overall, it should be noted that England conceded just three tries in their five matches – the joint lowest in the tournament.
“On behalf of the RFU I would like to wish them well in the next stages of their careers.”
John Wells said: “It has been a real privilege and a great honour to have been involved with the RFU for the last six years. I have been part of a very successful National Academy and England Saxons set up and been to two World Cups including a World Cup final in 2007, with the victories over Australia in Marseille and France in Paris as stunning highlights with the England team.
“Now is the right time to move on to look for a new challenge within the game. I am proud to be leaving at the end of a year in which England has introduced a wealth of young talent, won 10 out of 13 games and are the current Six Nations champions.
“I consider myself very fortunate to have worked with some great coaches and I would like to thank Robbo, Brian Ashton and Johno for the opportunity and Brian Smith, Mike Ford and Wig (Graham Rowntree) for putting up with my “old school’ ideals! I wish Stuart (Lancaster), Wig, Faz (Andy Farrell) and the rest of the England crew all the very best in the defence of their Six Nations title.”
Mike Ford said: “To be England’s defence coach over the last five-and-a-half years has been an absolute honour and I have worked with some great players and management. The World Cup was a watershed and it is time for a new environment. I wish Stuart and everyone the very best for the Six Nations and I firmly believe that England can win it.”