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

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England head coach Simon Middleton will leave his job at the end of the upcoming TikTok 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.”

England women head coach Simon Middleton
The RFU have been working on succession planning for Simon Middleton’s replacement (David Davies/PA)

“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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