POLL: Who should be England’s next Head Coach?

With Martin Johnson’s resignation now official, we want you to vote for your man to succeed him. With Nick Mallett now out of the running, the following five candidates have been selected. If none of them take your fancy, let us know in the comments below who is your pick for the top job.

Who should be the next England Head Coach?

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44 thoughts on “POLL: Who should be England’s next Head Coach?

  1. @wilcosports

    Latest odds for England job:

    Jim Mallinder 2/1Susp.

    Graham Henry 3/1Susp.

    Jake White 14/1Susp.

    Eddie Jones 16/1Susp.

    Conor O’Shea 20/1Susp.

  2. Ben, is this subliminal rigging of the vote by having a picture of Jim Mallinder?!

    He seems to be winning the vote, but I think it might be too soon, and he might be better off with a few more seasons with the Saints and winning some silverware.

    It might just be that I like him a lot and don’t want to see another man’s reputation tarnished by association with Rob Andrew’s ‘elite’ department.

  3. Personally Graham Henry.

    I do think that whoever comes in needs to have a complete review of their coaching staff too.

  4. Graham Henry still for me. Eddie Jones would also be great. I’m pretty sure Jake White ruled himself out.

  5. I’m slightly anti-Graham Henry actually. He didn’t do wonders with Wales or the Lions, and I think any coach could (and should) win the RWC with NZ – and they nearly lost it again.

    The team of coaches is indeed more important, so there needs to be a candidate that won’t be afraid to lay down the law with Rob Andrew and state the terms.

    I voted for Eddie Jones…

    1. I am anti Graham Henry coaching England too – wouldn’t want him imparting his valuable knowledge on The Enemy ;-). Hope he stays in NZ and keeps contributing to rugby here.

      I think the RFU should oust Andrew and get an outsider to take his place, someone who isn’t in the ‘Old Boys’ club and that can give the whole outfit a shake up. Then get a guy like Mallinder in with some world class technical advisors to support him. Johnson wouldn’t go amiss in some role as a forwards coach. It’s the backs where the immediate England squad need the most work though and Mallinder or Jones would be able to do good things in that regard I reckon.

    2. IM with you Hutch.

      Henry has under achieved, and yes, im taking into account the RWC.

      He has had the squad to win the past 3!!!!

      1. Isn’t it phenomenal how people say he has “under achieved” and yet he ended with an 85% winning record? And won 1 RWC in 2 attempts… man, what does the guy have to do to get some credit!?!

  6. The problem for moving on is that no decent coach is going to subject themselves to the idiots at the RFU and the uber-idiot Rob Andrew

    Mallet has already ruled himself out for that very reason

    We will end up with a coach who has taken the role solely because it will come with a substantial pay cheque

    Furthermore, I will not be suprised if we are told that Ford, Wells and Smith are to stay on

    Nothing good will happen with the England rugby team until the RFU has under-gone some serious reform and I just cannot see that happening

    We must be the laughing stock of the rugby world. How did it get this bad?

  7. I don’t fancy Graham Henry at all. Firstly, he’s said he didn’t want to be coach, but some role within the RFU.
    Secondly, he has been pretty scathing of England, the fans and the organisation in the past. I wouldn’t want him
    Thirdly, he failed his first attempt with a good NZ team and scraped through his second. I don’t think he’s anything special.

    Mallinder is the best from the selections there. Eddie Jones would potentially be good, but suffers from some of the Henryesque criticism of England, but at least I feel like he’s achieved something where Henry didn’t.

    Mallet and Jake White ruled themselves out pretty quickly. Mallet was never going to take a role with a chaotic despot above him, he had enough of that in South Africa.

    Dean Richards, were it not for bloodgate would have been a great choice. I still think they should’ve picked him up before Johnson took the reigns.

    What I think needs to be done is this selection process to go quickly so that England can retain Rowntree before he goes to Wales or Scotland. Mallinder to bring in Dorian West, retain Rowntree as forwads/scrum coach respectively, pick up Mike Catt as backs coach and someone useful and dual code like Jason Robinson as attack coach. It’s a bit late to pick up Edwards as defence coach, but there’s always Dave Ellis.

    1. I don’t fancy Graham Henry at all. Firstly, he’s said he didn’t want to be coach, but some role within the RFU.

      Fair point.

      Secondly, he has been pretty scathing of England, the fans and the organisation in the past.

      Many English fans have been scathing of the English team over the past several years, even going into the 2007 RWC. And most (on this blog anyways) are scathing of the organisation too. Maybe he has a point! Criticism is useful if used constructively.

      Thirdly, he failed his first attempt with a good NZ team and scraped through his second. I don’t think he’s anything special.

      You mention 2 games in an 8 year career of coaching the NZ team. He has an 85% success rate during that time. Name anyone who comes close, at any level of the professional game, anywhere? If he isn’t special then no one is.

      1. I don’t mean scathing as in he’s pointed out that there are problems in the RFU, problems with players, problems with coaches. I mean he has always talked about hating England and the English. He also lacks the diplomacy one expects of an England coach. It’d be the equivalent of making Ricky Ponting the England Cricket coach, a loud mouth who hates everyone who plays for his team.

        He may have an 85% win rate, but I would put that down to the way rugby union is followed in NZ and the way that NZRU operates over the union from school level, to academies to professional levels. This is why NZ has always been strong, but Henry’s tenure isn’t that special and he’d be moving into a very different beast that is the RFU and he wouldn’t be able to handle it.

        His record with the Lions and Wales is nothing special either. I think Mike Ruddock had better success with Wales and I suspect Warren Gatland has (with their lows).

        I sincerely don’t think Henry is going to get along in England and it would be a mistake to approach him.

        1. i agree with you whole heartedly tana ….. Henry was the architect and mike ruddock and warren gatland the beneficiaries …although gatland has taken it one step further with the introduction and belief in youth…. Henry got rid of a whole generation of unfit and unprofessional welsh players and introduced a system that has only improved with time ….. no body could handle the rfu at the moment wookie , world cup winning teams do not just happen they are planned….. Clive Woodward failed at first but then succeeded with meticulous planning as has Henry… with less finance and lets not forget his fourth choice 10, his captain injured and some of the more established all blacks being dropped …someone had to make those decisions HENRY DID …JOHNSON DID NOT … BUT BIG MISTAKE JOHNSON LEAVING WITH THE RIGHT TEAM BEHIND HIM AND KNOWLEDGE GAINED ,COULD HAVE DONE WELL …

  8. Simon Beer
    If the RFU is prepared to approach a foreign coach, then I believe that Marc Lievremont is the stand out candidate:


    His added advantage is that he is inexplicably out of contract.

    The obvious English choice is Steve Borthwick – who has obviously been groomed by RFU to take up the Johnson mantle as hard-nosed and respected player who couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag. (How else would you explain his appearances as England captain?). There’s a lot to be said for continuity. Personally, I vote for Danny Cipriani to return as player-manager, possibly with Gavin Henson working alongside him in a support role with a brief that covered off-field discipline and media relations. If not that, I’d really like to see Austin Healey take over.

  9. Am in several minds as to future manager, but am concerned that the best candidates will walk away from the mess that is the RFU.

    Would be happy with Graham Rowntree retained and Eddie Jones as assistant head coach – maybe attack as well. He’s a prickly individual but has always seemed to me to be a clever coach and we need that in the staff.

    Henry did say that he wouldn’t take on this role, but that was while Johnno was in harness. I think that I’d essentially be happy if he took over as I see him as a very good manager, but would want a good coach under him. Maybe Jones. How many egos can the coaching set up take would be my only concern.

  10. Nobody seems to have mentioned Andy Robinson yet…the RFU’s pockets are probably deep enough to lure him back, and with a few extra years of international management experience, he could be just the man…!

    Any takers?!

      1. Do you know what, it crossed my mind as well, but then I thought back to the pain we endured with him as manager first time round and thought better of mentioning it!!

  11. Would pay to see that!

    “Personally, I vote for Danny Cipriani to return as player-manager, possibly with Gavin Henson working alongside him in a support role with a brief that covered off-field discipline and media relations.”

  12. There’s the makings of a comedy management team here…

    Peter de Villiers – Head of Communications
    Rob Andrew – Reputation Management
    Mike Tindall – Social Sec
    Marc Lievremont – Head of Strategy
    Andy Robinson – Backs coach
    Austin Healey – Footwork coach
    Dean Richards – Medic (thanks Jimmy)
    John Wells – Forwards Coach…er, hang on a sec?

    1. He’s ruled himself out apparently for same family reasons that saw him leave Sarries.

      I wouldn’t have been against his appointment, and he would have insisted on some RFU changes I reckon…

  13. OK, on a more sensible point I’ve voted for Eddie Jones but starting to think about it properly (as opposed to getting wound up that Johnno’s gone) I think Mallinder WITH Dorian West and Paul Grayson look like a good coaching team. Lots of positives, just one question bugs me:

    ‘Without Tonga’huia (apologies for the spelling if wrong) and Mujati would Northampton be such a force in the Premiership and Europe?’

    Unfortunately neither of those props are English qualified.

    1. Surely the same could be said about any good side – “without X and Y they might not be so good”. If Mallinder and his coaches have got the best out of those two, they’d get the best out of Corbs, Cole, Marler, etc.

      I would be pretty upset if I were a Saints fan and Mallinder got snaffled away – they could be on the verge of a few years of domestic and European success, it would feel like he’d left with unfinished business.

  14. Who ever it is they will need to be very special, two eyes to watch what’s happening, and another pair to watch his back.

  15. However looking on the positive side, whoever takes over will be well paid and will have a pretty decent crop of players coming through to make a team. That might be enticing to a few.

  16. The most important thing is that whoever takes over has to stipulate that they will bring in their own coaching. I don’t see how the coaches can retain their jobs if the manager has gone. They are (in my opinion) more to blame than Johnno. Johnno has brought in some new faces on the team side, and the team has got better for it. But there needs to be more new faces on the coaching side for the team to improve further. For me Eddie Jones is good. The good thing about bringing in a foreign coach, is that he won’t have the same loyalty to Andrew as an English coach would

  17. Graham Henry would do a fine job. But would any new coach be given the lattitude to make real change? I don’t think so. It’s going to take a strong character who’ll fight from within the organisation.

  18. England need someone who knows the English game inside out. Mallinder’s the obvious choice given what he’s done at the Saints with a very English squad. Johnson was fairly average but people overlook the fact that the players at his disposal just aren’t particularly good anymore. Anyway, Mallinder’s favourite I’d be happy with that…


  19. I don’t think England should go down the football route of having a foreign manager. For some reason the RFU seems to have a belief that any coach from the Southern Hemisphere is automatically fit to manage England. Jim Mallinder has got the most impressive CV of the English candidates. He has been involved in England sides before with the Under 21s and Saxons and met with great success. He got Nothampton promoted, won the European Cup and LV Cup, got them to 2 Premiership semi-finals and came within a whisker of winning last year’s Heineken Cup. Rumours of a partnership between Malliner and McGeechan are also very exciting,

    1. I don’t think there’s an issue with having a foreign manager, in fact, I believe that potentially they could benefit from someone who looks at it from a different angle. I do however believe that they need to get someone who is ready to assert themselves and get what they need from the people above and below them. I think Johnno’s problem was that he didn’t know what he wanted/needed and therefore couldn’t ask.

      Mallet would have been an inspired choice having had to put up with an average squad in Italy and the politics of the SARU. However, his experience with the SARU has probably soured him off the idea of working with a bunch of politicians which he’d be getting in the RFU. Beyond him, the only man I could see is Mallinder. He’s been involved in the England setup at academy and Saxons level, as well as good success with Sale and Saints, he’s already working with some of the better England players and he’s got a greater idea of the big English players in the current English game.

      Maybe Eddie O’Sullivan as a caretaker until we can get a real coach and I stress as a caretaker. He’s never going to be successful with England, but they could do with taking their time over this decision and getting a coaching squad in place properly.

  20. a foreign coach is exactly what England need to get rid of the old school tie brigade… graham Henry started a revolution in wales by setting up the structure that took over all aspects of playing with no interference from the regional committees and old boys…it has worked and with the assistance of the welsh academies it is bearing fruit with the young talent coming through in wales…. Johnson was scared of change and youth… if your good enough your old enough…. there is some fantastic young players in England but are not given a chance ….. mallinder did not do too well against the scarlet’s .,and although he is a good coach coming through the ranks with the Saxons limits his vision of the game

  21. Joe Schmidt as low as 12/1. Hands off, I want him to stay with Leinster or better yet, take over our national side. The thought of him managing England is poisonous.

  22. Having thought about it, I don’t care whether we have an English or foreign manager just as long as they are good!

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