Former Castleford player leaves RFU as part of England shake-up

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Former England assistant coaches Mike Ford and John Wells are to leave the Rugby Football Union with immediate effect.

The pair have reached an agreement with the RFU after losing their roles with the national team in the wake of England’s quarter-final exit at the World Cup.

Earlier this month, Stuart Lancaster was selected to head up a new-look interim England coaching team for the Six Nations campaign which also includes Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell.

Ford, a former scrum-half with rugby league side Castleford Tigers, and Wells had taken charge of England’s defence and forward play since 2006, coaching the team on two World Cup campaigns.

Ford, who has been conducting coaching sessions at Championship side Leeds Carnegie, said: “To be England’s defence coach over the last five and a half years has been an absolute honour and I have worked with some great players and management.

“The World Cup was a watershed and it is time for a new environment. I wish Stuart and everyone the very best for the Six Nations and I firmly believe that England can win it.”

Acting RFU chief executive Stephen Brown said: “John and Mike have given great service to England and rugby in this country over many years and their contribution is appreciated.

“As well as his role with the senior team, John has played a major part in developing players as a national academy coach since he joined the RFU in 2005.

“In his five-and-a-half years with the senior team Mike created one of the best defences in world rugby, and while the World Cup was obviously disappointing overall, it should be noted that England conceded just three tries in their five matches – the joint lowest in the tournament. On behalf of the RFU I would like to wish them well in the next stages of their careers.”

Ford and Wells coached England to the 2007 World Cup final.