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Martin Johnson to become England Rugby Coach

7th April 2008

Martin Johnson is expected to decide whether or not he will become England's team manager by the end of next week.

Rob Andrew, elite director of the Rugby Football Union (RFU), is due to hold further talks with Johnson this week.

If the duo reach agreement, meetings of Club England and the RFU management board will be hastily convened to rubber-stamp Johnson's appointment.

The former England captain held initial talks with Andrew on 20 March but they are yet to hold further discussions.

The exact details of the role being offered are yet to be discussed and Johnson has not given a firm indication about whether he is keen to join the England set-up.

However, the RFU is encouraged by the fact that England's World Cup-winning skipper has agreed to further talks with Andrew.

Senior RFU officials are eager for the make-up of England's coaching team to be finalised quickly, in good time for the summer tour to New Zealand.

Andrew had proposed the appointment of a team manager and backs coach when he presented his World Cup review to the management board at the end of last year.

He said he would appoint a team manager in conjunction with England coach Brian Ashton, but an appointment is yet to be made.

Indeed, Ashton's own position seems to be in limbo, as Johnson is being touted as a new supremo, with responsibility for selection of the England team and the appointment of coaches.

There is acknowledgement within the RFU that Andrew was invaluable in brokering an agreement with the clubs over the management of England's elite players.

Yet there is increasing disquiet about his failure to reinforce England's coaching structure.

However, speculation that the former Newcastle director of rugby will lose his job if he fails to land Johnson is wide of the mark.

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