Martin Johnson has stepped down as England Team Manager. After three-and-a-half years Johnson has decided not to seek a new contract.
He said: “I’ve obviously thought long and hard about this and it’s the right decision for me and the England team. 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 added: “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.
“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.
“We have always insisted that Martin would take the team to the World Cup and we would then assess what steps would be taken. 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.”
RFU Acting Chief Executive Martyn Thomas said: “I would like to thank Martin for all he has done for English rugby, both as a player and a manager. It is disappointing that he has decided to step down but we fully respect his decision. We now have to look forward and the RFU will ensure that the structure and appointments made are in the best interests of English rugby as we move towards our home Rugby World Cup in 2015.”