England scrum coach is moving to Top 14 side as forwards coach after the Six Nations

Scrum coach Richard Cockerill is to leave England to take up a role as Montpellier forwards coach after the Guinness Six Nations.

Cockerill was the interim head coach before Steve Borthwick‘s appointment to the top job but the 52-year-old will end his association with the national side after first joining the set-up in September 2021.

Read more: England Six Nations squad

A former hooker, Cockerill won 27 caps for his country in his playing career. He went on to coach the likes of Leicester, Toulon and Edinburgh before joining Eddie Jones‘s staff 18 months ago.

The move will reunite Cockerill with England internationals Luke Cowan-Dickie and Sam Simmonds with the Exeter Chiefs duo moving across the channel next season. Additionally, No 8 Zach Mercer is already at Montpellier but will be returning from the Top 14 to the Premiership with Gloucester.

Related: Rugby Fixtures

Cockerill to leave England: In his own words

Cockerill said: “It has been an honour to not only play for my country but to also get the chance to coach England.

“Having coached and played in France previously, my family and I always had aspirations to return.  This opportunity presented itself some time ago and it was too hard to turn down personally and professionally.

Read more: England Six Nations Fixtures

“It is disappointing not to work with Steve and the wider team beyond the Six Nations. I had hoped to be able stay for the Rugby World Cup, but the timings weren’t meant to be.

“I will continue to be fully focused on England and this Six Nations campaign, working with this group of players as they begin a new journey together.

“I know how much playing for England means for this group and I look forward to watching them later in the year and seeing just what they can achieve. It’s exciting to see what change has happened so far in such a short period of time.”

Borthwick added: “Richard has been, and continues to be, an excellent coach and has provided invaluable support and guidance to our players.

“You can tell how much pride he had in playing for his country and he has the same pride in working for his country as a coach. I know it was a difficult decision for him to leave and he has our support.

“We will continue to work hard together as a coaching group as we work to help build an England team that gets to where we all want it to be.”

It is the second departure the RFU has announced in as many days, after the news yesterday that Red Roses head coach Simon Middleton will also leave after the women’s Six Nations that starts next month.

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