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English Rugby’s RFU to Name Interim Head Coach for Six Nations

An interim coach will be appointed for England’s national rugby team before next year’s Six Nations championship, with a permanent successor to Martin Johnson picked by June, the Rugby Football Union said today.

An interim appointment will be made “in the next few weeks,” Professional Game Board Chairman Ian Metcalfe said at a news conference at Twickenham Stadium in west London. He said there isn’t anyone lined up for the permanent role and the organization will “take as much time as we need.”

Johnson quit as coach on Nov. 16 following the World Cup in New Zealand. England reached the quarterfinals of the tournament, one step short of its goal, as it dealt with off-field events involving players and staff.

Former captain Mike Tindall was dropped from the squad and fined 25,000 pounds ($39,430) by the RFU after being recorded in a bar with an ex-girlfriend and misleading team officials. He was reinstated to the roster this week following an appeal.

Players Chris Ashton and James Haskell were also fined for allegedly harassing a female staff member at their hotel, while Manu Tuilagi was fined by the RFU and detained by police after jumping off a ferry. Coaches Dave Alred and Paul Stridgeon were suspended for one match for illegally switching balls used for conversions in a win over Romania.

“The standard of performance and discipline was not good enough,” Stephen Brown, who was appointed yesterday as the RFU’s acting chief executive officer, said at the news conference.

England entered the World Cup after winning the Six Nations for the first time in eight years. It starts its defense of the title on Feb. 4 against Scotland.

A long-term appointment will then be in place before England’s tour to South Africa in June. A new position is to be created to handle non-playing aspects of future tours, while Rob Andrew will become professional rugby director.

Andrew, who is currently elite director of rugby, will no longer have direct contact with the senior national team. Metcalfe denied that Andrew was being demoted.

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