John Mitchell named as England head coach after Simon Middleton departure

·2-min read

New Zealander John Mitchell has been named as the new head coach of the England women’s team.

Mitchell, who has had two spells on the coaching team with England’s men’s side in a lengthy career, is currently defence coach for the Japan men’s side and will take up his new role after the Rugby World Cup later this year.

Mitchell succeeds Simon Middleton, whose trophy-laden eight-year spell ended with another Six Nations Grand Slam last weekend.

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He said on englandrugby.com: “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.

“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.

“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.”

The black mark on Middleton’s reign was two World Cup final defeats to New Zealand and Mitchell’s main target will be to claim the prize on home soil in two years’ time.

Former England captain Sarah Hunter
Former captain Sarah Hunter has taken on a coaching role (Brett Phibbs/PA)

Louis Deacon will keep his role as forwards coach and will be acting head coach until Mitchell joins while England’s most capped player and former captain, Sarah Hunter, has been appointed to the role of transition coach, working with the senior team and upcoming players.

Lou Meadows has been promoted from her role as under-20s head coach to attack coach for the senior team, with Charlie Hayter becoming head of women’s performance.

Executive director of performance rugby, Conor O’Shea, said: “We are thrilled to be welcoming John back to England Rugby together with Louis, Charlie, Sarah and Lou.

“This will be a formidable coaching team to take the Red Roses to the next stage in their development.”