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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Pa Sport Staff

Simon Middleton to step down as England head coach at end of Women’s Six Nations

PA Wire

England rugby head coach Simon Middleton will leave his job at the end of the upcoming Women’s Six Nations campaign.

The 57-year-old guided the Red Roses to the World Cup final in both 2017 and 2022, where they were beaten by New Zealand on each occasion.

Middleton’s side had set a record-breaking 30-match winning run before they were edged out by the Black Ferns 34-31 in Auckland during November last year.

After taking charge in 2015, Middleton guided England to five Six Nations titles, including four Grand Slams, but now feels the time is right for a change.

“Representing England in a coaching or playing capacity must be the pinnacle of any sporting career, and I can’t put into words how proud and fortunate I’ve been to be able to do this for the last nine years,” Middleton said on the RFU website.

“During this tenure, I have worked with incredible players and staff and I will miss the daily interactions.

“I would like to say a huge thank you for their efforts and everything they have done to support the programme and contribute to our success.”

Middleton added: “Now our attentions turn to being able to perform as well as we can with the goal of winning the Six Nations.

“It’s a really exciting tournament, culminating in a match against France at Twickenham in front of a huge crowd which will be an inspiring and incredible occasion for everyone.

“It’s a crucial tournament in the build-up to 2025 (World Cup) and I cannot wait to be back with the group.”

RFU performance director Conor O’Shea said: “I know how motivated Simon is to finish his time with the Red Roses on a high with a successful Women’s Six Nations campaign.

“He has achieved more than most coaches ever do but for me, it’s the manner he has conducted himself as a person and his commitment to making the Red Roses the best they can be that stands out above the wins and the awards.”

O’Shea added: “In terms of a successor, we have been working on our coach succession planning processes over the past 18 months and we will initiate that process immediately with a view to announcing Simon’s replacement after this year’s Six Nations.”

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