Simon Middleton to step down as England women's coach after Six Nations

Simon Middleton led England to two World Cup finals and five Six Nations titles. Andy Jackson - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

England women's rugby head coach Simon Middleton will leave his post after this year's Six Nations campaign, it was announced on Monday.

Middleton masterminded England's record-breaking 30 match-winning run and guided the team to two World Cup finals in 2017 and 2022. He's also won five Six Nations titles, including four Grand Slams during his time in charge of England.

The announcement comes as England look to defend their Six Nations crown, but he said he made the call as he felt it was the right time for someone new to lead the team into the 2025 World Cup.

"I know there is a robust process to get the right person to take over and I am naturally 100% committed until we get to that point," Middleton said. "This is definitely the right time for someone to take over at the helm with new ideas, and a different voice for players to get inspired by.

"Now our attentions turn to being able to perform as well as we can with the goal of winning the Six Nations. It's a really exciting tournament, culminating in a match against France at Twickenham in front of a huge crowd which will be an inspiring and incredible occasion for everyone. It's a crucial tournament in the build-up to 2025 and I cannot wait to be back with the group."

RFU performance director Conor O'Shea added: "Simon and I have been discussing his future plans for a period of time since the World Cup in New Zealand and I completely understand and support his decision.

"Simon will be a massive influence and addition to whatever environment he goes to next and we will wish him well when the time comes for him to move on.

"In terms of a successor, we have been working on our coach succession planning processes over the past 18 months and we will initiate that process immediately with a view to announcing Simon's replacement after this year's Six Nations. The next few years are unbelievably exciting for the women's game in England leading to a home Rugby World Cup in 2025."

England begin their Six Nations campaign against Scotland on March 25.