Rugby: Mallett rules himself out of England job

Nick Mallett. Photo / Getty Images
Nick Mallett. Photo / Getty Images

Nick Mallett has confirmed he had been sounded out as a candidate to succeed Martin Johnson as England rugby coach, but ruled out taking on the role.

"I have decided that I will not be making myself available for the position and I have disclosed this to the RFU (England's Rugby Football Union),'' Mallett said in a statement.

Former South African and Italian boss Mallett revealed he had been approached about the possibility of taking charge of England should Johnson, who resigned on Wednesday, quit his post.

Johnson stepped down as England team manager following a disappointing World Cup campaign where the side failed to achieve their minimum objective of reaching the semi-finals - they lost in the last eight to France.

England's on-field form, which was mediocre at best, was overshadowed by a series of embarrassing off-field incidents in New Zealand including a now notorious drunken night out in Queenstown.

Mallett, born in England and long touted as a Red Rose coach, formally ruled himself out of the running to replace 2003 World Cup-winning captain Johnson in a statement.

"I would like to lay to rest the speculation linking me to the now-vacant England rugby coaching position,'' said Mallett, who stepped down as Italian coach after the World Cup.

"I had previously expressed my interest in the position publicly and was interested to hear what RFU representatives had to say.

"After mulling it over for a few days and discussing the opportunity with close friends and family, I have decided that I will not be making myself available for the position and I have disclosed this to the RFU.

Johnson told a Twickenham news conference today he would not be renewing his contract at the end of December.

"It's not a decision I have come to quickly or easily, but I just think it's the right decision at this time,'' Johnson said.

"The off-field things during the World Cup didn't help. We gave people the opportunity to report on us as they did. But it's not a kneejerk reaction,'' Johnson said.

- AFP

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