England Women appoint John Mitchell as new head coach

England Women have appointed John Mitchell as their new head coach (Getty Images)
England Women have appointed John Mitchell as their new head coach (Getty Images)

John Mitchell has been appointed as head coach of the England Women’s team, and will take over after the Rugby World Cup in the autumn.

The New Zealand-born coach is currently the defence coach for Japan, and will continue to lead the Brave Blossoms until the conclusion of their 2023 World Cup campaign in France.

Mitchell is no stranger to the England rugby set-up, having worked as a forwards coach for the men’s side between 1997 and 2000, and a defence coach between 2018 and 2021.

The appointment comes just days after the Red Roses secured a second Six Nations Grand Slam victory, while conceding just 48 points across the five matches.

The incoming Mitchell will have tough boots to fill when he takes the reigns from Simon Middleton, who led the side for eight years, including to two World Cup finals.

Mitchell has already set a high target of selling out Twickenham Stadium for the 2025 Women’s World Cup on home soil, a feat which could be achievable after a record crowd of 58,498 attended the final Six Nations clash against France on 29 April.

“The Red Roses have set an incredible standard and foundation for women’s rugby, being the most successful team in the Six Nations which is a tremendous achievement, and we now have the opportunity to build on this, mature in key areas and become a truly champion side that can rightfully contest for the World Cup in 2025,” Mitchell said.

“I would like to honour the hugely supportive Red Roses fans with successful performances as we work towards winning and selling out Twickenham Stadium for the Rugby World Cup in 2025.”

Sarah Hunter, England’s most capped player, will take over as transition coach, while Lou Meadows has been promoted from under-20s coach to senior attack coach.