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Johnno is England team manager

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Leicester Tigers legend and England's World Cup-winning captain Martin Johnson has been appointed as England team manager with effect from this summer.

The RFU today released a statement as follows:

The RFU Management Board considered and unanimously approved the report and recommendations of Rob Andrew MBE, elite rugby director, and Club England on strengthening the England team structure.

The RFU are pleased to announce that Martin Johnson CBE has been appointed as England Team Manager with effect from July 1, 2008 until December 31, 2011.

Reporting to Rob Andrew, he will have full managerial control of the England team, including the appointment of the coaching and management team as well as the player selection process.

Brian Ashton MBE ceases to be England head coach and has been offered the role of head coach of the National Academy, responsible for working across the England Saxons, U20 and U18 programmes to build further on the outstanding success of these sides.

Martin has confirmed that forwards coach John Wells and defence coach Mike Ford will remain in their positions as England coaches under the new structure. He will be appointing an additional coach in due course.

Rob Andrew will fulfil the role of England team manager for the England v Barbarians match at Twickenham on June 1 and for the two-Test tour of New Zealand. The coaching team for the tour will be John Wells, Mike Ford, Graham Rowntree and Jon Callard.

Rob Andrew MBE said: "I am delighted Martin is joining the England structure as team manager. He will bring a new and fresh approach to team development and preparation in his own inimitable style.

"I would also like to thank Brian for the job he has done in difficult circumstances. He is an outstanding coach and deserves enormous credit for leading England to a second successive Rugby World Cup Final and securing the runners-up position in this year's RBS 6 Nations.

"Whilst Brian is naturally disappointed that he will not have a role in the new senior structure, I believe the new post that we have offered him as head coach of the National Academy is ideally suited to his special talents and expertise."

Martin Johnson CBE said: "It is a great honour for me to be offered this position. I am passionate about the England team and delivering success for it.

"Whilst I cannot take up my position until July 1 for personal reasons, I will be working closely with Rob and the England coaching team on selection for the Barbarians match and the New Zealand tour, as well as selecting the first Senior Elite Player Squad of 32 under the new agreement between the RFU and Premier Rugby."

RFU chief executive Francis Baron OBE said: "Martin Johnson's appointment will greatly strengthen the England team management and coaching structure. I am delighted he is joining us.

"Martin has the freedom and the budget to recruit additional coaching resource and make other changes to the England set-up to build a team that will consistently challenge for the major international tournaments. I am also personally pleased that Brian has been offered a senior post within the RFU which I very much hope he accepts. He still has much to offer England Rugby."

Martyn Thomas, chairman of the RFU Management Board, said: "The Board were unanimous in their support of the recommendations placed before us by Rob Andrew. They were also fulsome in their thanks and praise for Brian for the work he has done for England Rugby in difficult circumstances and in their desire for Brian to play a new role going forward as head coach of the National Academy."