Robinson steps down as England coach

Andy Robinson has finally ended speculation and stepped down from his post as coach of the England rugby union team.

Robinson’s future had been in doubt since Sunday after England’s recent disappointing form which saw them lose to South Africa for the first time in nearly 10 years at Twickenham.

Under Robinson England lost 13 out of 22 Test matches after he took over from World Cup-winning boss Sir Clive Woodward as coach in late 2004.

Rob Andrew released a statement saying that they would not be making any comment on a new head coach at this time.

In his statement, Robinson said: “Following last Saturday’s match against South Africa my position remained that I was confident that I would coach the England team through to a successful World Cup in 2007, not withstanding the setbacks that we have had through the autumn.

“It is my understanding that I had, and still have, the support of the England players and the England management team.

“In the last 48 hours, I have been advised by senior colleagues that those who have governance over me – the RFU management board – do not, and will not, continue to support me as England head coach.

“For six years I have been proud to work with some outstanding people in the England team management and in the England squad.”
Andrew said in his own statement, “This announcement is made with a great deal of regret as Andy has made a significant contribution to England during the six years he has been involved with the side.

“Andy played a significant part in England’s Grand Slam, unbeaten tour to Australia and New Zealand and RWC success in 2003.

“He also recorded excellent wins against Australia, South Africa and Wales during his tenure as head coach and was always totally committed to the role.

“The RFU will always be grateful for his contribution to the England cause.

“Unfortunately, with the exception of the win against South Africa on 18 November, England’s recent results have not gone the way that Andy, the players, supporters and the RFU would have wished for. Andy leaves with our very best wishes.”

A number of names have been linked with the position of England coach starting with the current set up of Brian Ashton (attack), John Wells (forwards) and Mike Ford (defence).

Former South Africa coach Nick Mallett, Harlequins coach Dean Richards and former Wasps and Ireland coach Warren Gatland have also been linked with the post.

Mallet said that he would prefer to stay with his son in Cape Town while Waikato Rugby Union chief executive Gary Dawson says that he does not expect former Ireland coach Warren Gatland to take the job.

This leaves Harlequins coach Dean Richards as one of the only viable solutions for replacing Robinson.

Mallet however was quick to point out that Robinson was not the only problem in the England set up and said, ” “People are focusing on Robinson, but they are blind to other errors that have been made,” he said.

Mallet identified the club vs country problem as something that must be sorted out before England can improve.

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