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RFU confirm appointment of John Mitchell

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

As exclusively revealed by RugbyPass this week, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) have confirmed that John Mitchell is set to take over the reins of the England Women’s team from Simon Middleton.


The New Zealander will takeover after the Rugby World Cup after he finishes his current role as Japan defence coach.

Louis Deacon continues as forwards coach and will lead the team on an interim basis until Mitchell joins. Charlie Hayter will move into “a more embedded role as the Head of Women’s Performance” and will be responsible for the performance strategy and delivery within the programme.

“The Red Roses have set an incredible standard and foundation for women’s rugby, being the most successful team in the Six Nations which is a tremendous achievement, and we now have the opportunity to build on this, mature in key areas and become a truly champion side that can rightfully contest for the World Cup in 2025,” said Mitchell. “I would like to honour the hugely supportive Red Roses fans with successful performances as we work towards winning and selling out Twickenham Stadium for the Rugby World Cup in 2025.”

Mitchell, who left his role as defence coach with England men’s team during the Eddie Jones, coached the All Blacks at the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

Conor O’Shea, Executive Director Performance Rugby said: “We are thrilled to be welcoming John back to England Rugby together with Louis, Charlie, Sarah and Lou this will be a formidable coaching team to take the Red Roses to the next stage in their development. With our most recent TikTok Six Nations Grand Slam win and setting a global record crowd, a high bar has been set. I’m confident that this extensively experienced coaching team will be equally challenging and supportive of the team in the next stage of their development.”

England’s most capped player and former captain, Sarah Hunter, has been appointed to the role of Transition Coach to work with both the senior women’s team and pathway programme, with a focus on forwards, breakdown and defensive systems.


Lou Meadows, a former Saracens and Wasps player, has been promoted from her role as U20s head coach to attack coach for the women’s senior team. A former teacher and development officer with the RFU, Meadows was the first-ever female head coach of an England men’s side when she coached England Counties U20s.


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