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Welsh rugby enveloped in its latest existential crisis

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Eddie Jones begins England staff rebuild by adding Martin Gleeson

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Martin Gleeson will join Eddie Jones’ England staff as attack coach from August 9, freeing up defence coach John Mitchell to move in the opposite direction and link up with Wasps as their new attack coach. Ex-rugby league star Gleeson had been touted for an England switch since last April and a deal has now been sealed as Jones kickstarts the rebuild of his backroom staff ahead of next November’s series of internationals.  


The England attack coach position had been vacant for some months following the post-Six Nations exit of Simon Amor. Skills coach Jason Ryles also cut his ties after he decided not to join up from Australia due to the pandemic while there have also been recent reports that head analyst Joe Lewis has left for personal reasons.

With forwards coach Matt Proudfoot the only remaining full-time member of Jones staff, it was reported last week that the England boss had met out-of-work Richard Cockerill at a Leicestershire cafe with a view to fleshing out his threadbare backroom. 

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Worcester’s new defence and kicking coach Mark Jones, the ex-Wales player who helped coached the Crusaders to Super Rugby titles, has also been mentioned as another possible recruit, but it’s the recruitment of Gleeson that is the first deal to be inked by the RFU, an agreement with Wasps which allows Mitchell to begin work at the Premiership club next week rather than after November’s international series as was initially indicated.  

An RFU statement read: “Martin Gleeson will join the England senior coaching set-up as attack coach. Gleeson joins from Wasps where he has been attack coach since 2019. He enjoyed a successful rugby league playing career, representing both Britain and England.

“Gleeson played for Huddersfield Giants, St Helens, Warrington Wolves, Wigan Warriors, Hull FC and Salford City Reds, winning the Super League twice (2002 and 2010) and the Challenge Cup in 2004. He moved into coaching with Salford in 2014 before joining Wasps. Gleeson will begin working with Eddie Jones and the wider England staff on Monday, August 9. Following Gleeson’s arrival, John Mitchell will also join Wasps on August 9.”


Gleeson said: “As a player, you always want to represent your country at the highest level and it’s no different for a coach. This is something I have strived for and coaching England is the pinnacle. I’d like to thank everyone at Wasps for my time there, in particular Lee Blackett who took me under his wing after coming from rugby league and has supported me in taking this opportunity. Now I’m looking forward to working with Eddie, the staff and some of the best players in the world, helping them in their development and achieving their ultimate goals.”

Jones, who is currently spending a few days working with Italian club Benetton, added: “We are building a coaching team to win the 2023 Rugby World Cup. We have five campaigns to go before then so every appointment from here on in is very important. We’re starting with Martin as attack coach. 

“He is a bright young rugby coach with experience at the highest level in league so he will add significant power to the team. He has done extremely well with Wasps and he will come in and build on the good work that Simon Amor started with us. I look forward to welcoming him to the coaching team.”



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RUGBYPASS+ Welsh rugby enveloped in its latest existential crisis Welsh rugby enveloped in its latest existential crisis